Why Are Asians Afraid of Individualism?

I have my theories about why Asians from cultures as distinct as China, Japan, Vietnam, India and Egypt are afraid of individualism in the post-enlightenment western sense of that word.

But what do readers think? Why are Asians so deeply afraid of individualism?

I asking this for a simple but obvious reason. Asian countries.. be they east-asian, south-asian or middle-eastern always had and have many innovative, original and intelligent people. Indeed they had more than the west at every point in human history. But those societies never utilized their abilities to any significant extent- in many cases at all.

Why?

What was different about the post-enlightenment west that allowed it to utilize its intelligent heretics, dissenters, shit-disturbers etc? Why did the west go from ignoring, torturing, burning and lynching these people to respecting them- if somewhat grudgingly?

I will write about my theory in an upcoming post. A hint- it revolves around the first information revolution unleashed by the manual printing press.. to be more specific, non-state sanctioned printing.

Comments?

  1. Y
    August 12, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Demographics, culture and history. Maybe underlying economics and biology affecting supply and demand of single women.

    All ends up in the result that staying in the collective and conforming is safer and gives a better return in Asian societies than being a rebel and individualistic which was / is the better strategy in the West.

  2. Nestorius
    August 12, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Individualism is the state of those who live isolated from the others. This thing is characteristic of peoples living in cold, dark, dull and ugly places like Germany, Scandinavia and Britain. Everybody lives separate from everybody else, hence an ideology of individualism is born.

    Individualism is also characteristic of Americans because Americans, from their beginning, don’t care about each others.

    I have my theories about why Asians from cultures as distinct as China, Japan, Vietnam, India and Egypt are afraid of individualism in the post-enlightenment western sense of that word.

    I’m not sure they are very aware of this tiny ideology among the endless amount of contradictory ideologies and bullshit that keeps coming from the West. Don’t forgot that it’s the Western ideologies that are the more contradictory among each others?

    Why did the west go from ignoring, torturing, burning and lynching these people to respecting them- if somewhat grudgingly?

    Are you talking about alchemists, magicians and charlatans here?

    Bottom line: progress in the modern time is exponential and has nothing to do with a meaningless ideology like individualism. Did Einstein obsess about individualism, and consequently he made all these discoveries. Most inventors cared the least about ideologies.

  3. August 12, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    so is the internet the new printing press?

    Yes.

    is invention linked to higher testosterone levels and eating more read meat? Seems like what some paleo diet loving manosphere guys would say….

    or is invention linked to an economic system that rewards risk and innovation and stifled where it is discouraged?

    • Nestorius
      August 13, 2011 at 7:31 am

      What about those who don’t have access or have limited access to the internet?

      • August 13, 2011 at 9:51 am

        That would contribute to “illiteracy” so to speak…..

        Fast broadband is considered an important feature for “information equality”…..

        ……”the president elect Obama said, “It’s unacceptable that the US ranks 1th in the world in broadband adoption, according to OECD. Here in the country that invented the internet, every child should have the chance to get online. That’s how we’ll strengthen America’s competitiveness in the world.” Twenty years ago no one would have believed that increasing the speed and connection of a populace’s access to a network could lift the boat of an entire country. Today, it’s helping to drive an agenda of growth, change and improved living conditions for one of the world’s superpowers.”

        _Sarah Sorensen, The Sustainable Network

  4. August 12, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Diablo, what do you think of the female infanticide practiced in these cultures?

    http://www.gendercide.org/case_infanticide.html

  5. August 12, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Y has a good point, what incentive is there for an Asian to be different from the herd?

  6. Deus
    August 13, 2011 at 5:56 am

    Brilliant question AD.

    I have much interest in Asian cultures. I’m suspecting your thinking is the state wanted to maintain control, so it influenced culture to make everyone conform, like 1984. Everybody keep your head down, keep your opinions to yourself, follow the rules etc…

  7. greg
    August 13, 2011 at 9:02 am

    This is my theory, and Ill explain why I think it. I think your idea that creative societies are juut lets move on.

    So basically we have an Asia much more open to original ideas than a Church dominated Europe, but we have original thinkers showing up in Europe and fighting hard against the establishment to get their ideas through. We have a Greece that is creative, but a Rome that is just as tolerant non-creative.
    st societies that allow creativity to flourish is hugely wrong. This idea has become the convention these days, that Asia is just as creative but simply doesnt allow the expression of all this creativity, and whats special about the West is that it allowed it.

    Western Europe was hugely intolerant and original thinkers had to fight their way through tooth and claw AGAINST the establishment, not with it (Gallieo anyone?), until little by little the tide changed. Asia on the other hand was MUCH MORE tolerant of strange new ideas because it didnt have anything like the Catholic Church to be threatened by new ideas. Asia was always more tolerant and less dogmatic than the West.

    So that means that Asia was MUCH riper ground for new ideas to flourish if tolerance of originality is the main thing. When original thinkers in the West began to appear they had a serious fight on their hands – in Asia they would have been much more welcome

    Second you have Ancient Greece, the paradigm case of a creative society much more so than later Europe, so its a huge blind spot to start this narrative with post-rennaisance Europe. Any explanation has to take in Ancient Greece. And here we are stopped dead in our tracks by something interesting – Rome was culturally Greek, it completely adopted Greek ideas, yet it wasnt creative – why, if mere tolerance is all it takes? This is a clue to the answer, b
    Finally, you have a few more startling facts; Japan began seriously studying and copying the West and CRAVED the ability to produce original thinkers but all it could do was copy. In about 150 years very little creativity there despite the desire for it. A very similar thing in the rest of Asia although not as intensely as Japan. China was corrupt and hedonistic and chaotic throughout the 19th century, it would have been easy as pie for original thinkers to show up and make their ideas known in that environment. Asians in the past 150 years have caught on hugely to creativity, yet cant do it.

    Then you have the fact that there are tons of Asians, and have been for at least 100 years, working and studying in the West, furiously trying to outcompete Westerners and imbued with a powerful sense of mission and a burning desire to prove themselves, who have been relatively uncreative, despite originality being the HIGHEST INTELLECTUAL accolade these Asians are all seeking. Dont get me wrong, theres been some creativity, but not much, pretty much what youd expect looking at the history of Asia, with the Indians being most original, the Chinese almost completely unoriginal, and the Japanese somewhere in between.

    Then you have to realize that Western thinkers were creative in ALL fields, not just technology, so any theory that doesnt take this into account fails. I sometimes see theories which try to explain that the West had some incentive to develop technology – fine, but most great science had nothing to do with technology (Newton, Copernicus, Galileo, Einstein), so at best the theory explains why all this abstract science whose founders had no interest in practical technology became translated into practice. But even there it fails because it doesnt explain why in EVERY field there is a burst of creativity.

    Maybe you can say Chine didnt want new political theories, or whatever, but no original thinkers in ANY field?

    Finally, I have read quite a few accounts of creative and original people, and it reads like an ability – the ideas just CAME to the, they couldnt help it.

    So if you put all these threads together you get something like this; originality is not an aspect of personality nor does it flourish in tolerant societies (in fat today we are pretty tolerant but less creative than even 100 years ago, and Asia was always more tolerant than the West). It is an ability and must be fought for tenaciously. The explanation must be sought for in genetic drift – SOMETHING happened to Europe to make all sorts of people possess this mysterious ability, something which didnt happen in Asia, and that something is genetic, and has been steadily disappearing from the Euro population for the past 70 years as some kind of new genetic shift is taking place, making Euros different in a whole lot of ways.

    Whats remarkable to me is why Euros seem so suseptible to genetic shifts of this kind.

  8. greg
    August 13, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Something wierd happened in my first paragrpah there (in fact the whole post got a bit screwed up, but I cant clean it up now)…..it should be the idea that creative societies are tolerant societies is hugely wrong, and the idea that Asians are creative but are suppressed by their societies – while it has become THE conventional wisdom these days, is a hugely misguided approach.

    I understand why the idea is consoling to Asians, but we gotta get Asian and Western ego out of this (you will see that in my explanation, if properly understood, I am NOTt a Western triumphalist even though I ascribe Western creativity a genetic basis)

    Lets try to put our Asian or European ego aside for a moment and get to the bottom of this with a theory that fits all facts.

  9. Commander Shepard
    August 13, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    “I have much interest in Asian cultures. I’m suspecting your thinking is the state wanted to maintain control, so it influenced culture to make everyone conform, like 1984. Everybody keep your head down, keep your opinions to yourself, follow the rules etc” – Deus.

    There is truth to this. I’m aware that the Ottomam Empire forbid the printing press.

    Whiskey had a piece on this. He asserts that the beta male was empowered in the west unlike the east. Furthermore the west was willing to overturn it’s social order for competitive advantage.

    http://whiskeys-place.blogspot.com/2008/06/why-beta-male-exists.html

    • August 13, 2011 at 7:30 pm

      Interesting article–quoted “We know what the “Beta Male” is supposed to be. A nerdy, often socially clueless man more focused on things and systems and tools than social dominance and leadership”–guess that describes the entire manosphere……

  10. P Ray
    August 24, 2016 at 8:50 am

    (some) Asians are afraid of individualism because that means current governments and their cronies are not going to be able to get away with broadcasting platitudes to pacify the masses.
    As the fertility rates drop and the demands of average women rise, this is going to become a problem in the next 5 years.
    I predict a global war before then though.

  1. August 14, 2011 at 1:13 am

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