"Truth is one, the sages speak of it by many names": On Eastern and Western Values
Essay from the year 2004 in the subject Communications - Intercultural Communication, grade: distinction, Charles Darwin University, language: English, abstract: The culture we are born into shapes the way we look at the world. Culture, this work claims, is man-made and tends, on the one hand, to secure the predominant social practises, its function is to stabilise the existing order; on the other hand, it is an expression of what its members aspire to be. The notions of ‘Orientalism’ (how the West sees the East) and ‘Asian values’ (how Asia sees herself) are explored before criteria such as rationality, justice, democracy, individual liberty, separation of church and state, and tolerance, that are generally perceived as European, but also as Western, are examined. Despite them having the same roots, European and Western values vary not inconsiderably because they are interpreted (and practised) not in the same way in Europe and in the US. The reason (also for the differences between Eastern and Western values), it is claimed, lies in the politics of power: differences in values are emphasised and thus enforced for political purposes. Furthermore, cultural values, it is argued, are not ‘naturally’ there, they are constructed ideologies and need to be put back in their place for it is our natural commonalities that (should) essentially matter.
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