To the contemporary American or Chinese person, it is nothing new to suggest that “Westerners” and “Easterners” act differently. As we have discussed in class, different behavior suggests different ways of thinking, and ultimately different organization of the brain itself. One would then expect to see observable differences in “Eastern” and “Western” behavior, and some underlying neurological cause for such observations.
But what do the terms East and West really mean? Are these terms derived from a common region, culture, or language? The definition, to be sure, is a combination of many factors, which historically are ultimately selected to the definers’ (Westerners) advantage. For the purposes of this paper I will refer to East Asia as China, Korea, and Japan, and the West as America and Western Europe. The terms East and West are socially, politically, and economically weighted and the biases associated with them are so deeply rooted that even so called sinifiles may find themselves advocating the very stereotypes placed on the East by the West. For example, someone might argue how a mystic conformist society is far superior to an individualistic reason based society, without questioning how mystic or conformist Eastern culture truly is.