Thursday, January 21, 2010

Different Thinking

Living in different countries allows one to understand the thought processes of the local people. Sometimes one would like to think like them to be able to assimilate faster or achieve better understanding. Sometimes a sense of chauvinism and bias arise which fools one into thinking that his logical reasoning is superior. It’s all hogwash because this is just plain bias or prejudice coming out of a sense of superiority. Eventually one realizes that the basic thinking process is actually the same. There is a similar logical progression of thoughts in most places. This theory I think was also written about in Carl Jung’s called synchronicity.

Eventually one realizes that differences in thoughts are due to the focus and attention that each culture indulges in. For example, a rich and materialistic culture would focus on the things while a religious culture would focus on the spirit. The different focus of these societies affects their perception of life. So the result is a seemingly different mode of thinking across cultures. But rather it’s just the peculiar bias or attention that one’s culture happens to focus on. The common reasoning mechanism is still there and applying a similar process will succeed across cultures. So the scientific method for example, is one mode of thought than can be shared across cultures as it’s just a tool for thinking.

The different focus or bias of each society will eventually change the way one thinks but not the universal principles. For example, saving or spending money has the same connotation everywhere. Fear and poverty is generally the same abstract concept everywhere. The degree of these concepts would be different based on the peculiar conditions existing in the society. Is it a rich culture or a poor culture? Hence, the perceptions and focus is different due to the different circumstances. Nevertheless, saving money for a rainy day is a universal concept that can be recognized anywhere. One would save whatever is the appropriate value in his or her society.

The main point is that everyone can think the same. It is just the momentary emphasis that each individual bring to the table. Some maybe focused on sports, sex, money, power or position. Wrong thinking patterns result once one loses track of perspectives and his own point of view becomes the true reality which all should follow. This is the problem that people face and I guess a balance viewpoint could insure that all facets are considered equally. One would think that this is what the Buddhist strives for. To have a balanced viewpoint that is not influenced by desires, fears or passions. Usually one is affected by what one sees in television or movies or even music.

Is life worth living without the normal emotions driven by fear, passion or desires? I guess this would be an ideal life. Perhaps cultures who have tried to achieve this goal may seem to have the best world. The Buddhist countries like Japan, Thailand or Sri Lanka for example, is the best place to nurture this type of thinking. I have never been to Sri Lanka but it’s true that living in Japan or Thailand can be the ideal home for a lot of people. Strangely, these are not easy places to live in at times and subject to chaos like any other country. But one could detect certain areas that seem conducive for people with ‘silent minds’.

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