Perception of Crucial Life Notions
The mindset of people and their vision of key life concepts will always depend on their personal experience, upbringing, moral values, and cultural background. Among a whole host of life notions that can be discussed, I would like to concentrate on the following: friendship, learning two languages, education, self-control, empathy and sympathy, habituation, self-esteem, religion, trust, and uttering the first words.
Friendship is one of the key relations that a person establishes during the course of life. I exert great importance on this concept, for there is hardly anything more valuable than the mutual realization of support, trust, understanding, and love between two friends, who find each other at certain point of their lives and maintain this special tie as they move along. The love that appears in friendship is a continuation of a line of relationships through the life of a person, and it gives rise to the one that embraces the entire humanity. Moreover, I think friendship develops one’s selflessness, devotion, and uproots any sign of self-righteousness. As Nishida has argued, “The more we discard the self and become purely objective and selfless, the greater and deeper our love becomes. We advance from the love between parent and child or husband and wife to the love between friends, and from there to the love of humankind” (Jones and Klein 169).
The idea of learning two languages, or bilingual education in many cases, occupies quite an important part in Asia. The reason is fairly simple. Minority language issues have arisen in the form of the political movements and, sometimes, separatism in a vast number of multilingual countries in Asia. The matter of bilingual education has very bright political and social ramifications. To my mind, bilingualism is crucial as an early age phenomenon. It is believed not only among Asians that the level of bilingual proficiency acquired in the early age is better than that achieved in the successive acquisition. Education is of a crucial importance in the process of upbringing and personal growth. The three main practices are extolled as particularly significant in proper general education. Apart from acquiring the factual knowledge, it is important to me to be able to interpret (define), explain (justify), and to evaluate what I learn in light of its connections and attributes. All this requires exercising logic, which also should be gained with education.
Asians view family as person’s first community, where a child learns about the nature of living in a society, which is dominated by relationships and, very often, hierarchy. Thus, the idea of birth hierarchy is extolled greatly. Quite often it is the key to determining the social expectations. Thus, the advantage for the first born son, for instance, would be the fact that he enjoyed an immense status. This also meant greater amount of responsibility in the face of community.
The development of self-control is crucial for a person of any culture. This ability provides the foundation for social skills, discipline, and mental flexibility. It is a prerequisite for success in education, marriage, relationships and career. Asian students show self-control from the early age, and succeed in their further studies. It all comes from their upbringing, for like many other brain abilities, self-control can be built with the help of practice. Asian parenting places great emphasis on child training, which embodies supervision of performance and motivation for the efforts. The ability of self-control is a difficult quality to develop; however, once acquired, it will serve well and help in life. The notions of empathy and sympathy are significant in the life philosophy of Asians, as these two concepts are believed to be found in all human beings. The feeling of commiseration is a strong sensation that gives birth to benevolence of a person, and this is where its true value is represented. Mengzi states that, “All men have the mind which cannot bear to see the suffering of others” (Jones and Klein 122). Benevolence forms the basis for religious concepts of Asians. As collectivistic countries, Asian states exert great importance on the notion of “relatedness”. It enters on all stages of the culture and life, and religion is not an exception. By giving to the people the comfort of relatedness, social group and acceptance, religion promotes empathy, sympathy, and benevolence.
I would like to combine the discussion about habituation and self-esteem, as the two concepts that are interrelated, when it comes to the Asians. As collectivistic states, Asian countries place the greater emphasis on events that have impact on the family. Self-esteem might seem to be a concern of a more individualistic culture. However, when fitting into the frame of habituation, we view identity development as a constant process of assimilation, during which the perception of the self always interferes with the definition of the other. Our future is constructed of stability, as well as novelty habituation. It is important to be able to strike a balance between the novelty and adjustment. We have to maintain our identity against the backdrop of global values to the environment and achieve a self-image supported by self-esteem.
The concept of trust is of a crucial importance for Asians. Asian countries are high-trust cultures. We believe that generalized trust predicts a positive payoff of democratic values and commitment to human rights and freedoms. Asians hold an opinion that democratic choices are always influenced by the generalized trust.
People are guided by what is dubbed right in the society they belong to; however, most of the time, people perceive certain notions, while standing against the backdrop of their culture, traditions, and inner voice. In case of the Asian countries, the values we praise are very much influenced by the collectivism nature of our culture and traditions.
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