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  1. #21
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    That's funny, they all seem pretty community oriented in Kung Fu flicks. Hmmm.

  2. #22
    Senior Member Lightyear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pinker85 View Post
    "The Oriental doesn't put the same high price on life as does a Westerner...We value life and human dignity. They don't care about life and human dignity." - General Westmoreland
    Though it's obviously not the same culture as China I remember reading in a book called "The Arab Mind" that violence is just seen as a fact of life in Arabic countries, there is an undercurrent of cruelty (generally towards people weaker than you/below you on the social ladder) that would be seen as unacceptable in Western countries. I remember reading this article (http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/201...-saudi-arabia/) about Indonesia banning its maids from working in Saudi Arabia since there is a huge problem of them being abused by their Saudi employers and I was thinking about what I had read.

    I read the same thing in Somali writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali's books "Infidel" and "Nomad"; where she grew up in Somalia violence was seen as a fact of everyday life, she was pitted against other children as a young girl so that she would learn how to fight since in Somali culture the stronger one is in the right. When she became a refugee in the Netherlands she was at first totally flabbergasted by Dutch people trying to talk problems through and trying to find a middle ground instead of the stronger one winning.

    I've also read about the French philosopher and anthropologist René Girard who was mystified by the fact that in modern times a 'marginalised' person or the victim assumes a moral authority since he found nothing comparable in his readings of ancient history. In the myths from Babylon, Greece and elsewhere the strong heroes and victors were celebrated, not the pitiable victims. After further research Girard traced the phenomenon back to the historical figure of Jesus, in contrast to all the heroic stories of his time Jesus took the side of the oppressed and marginalised and died a very non-heroic death as a prisoner of the Romans. According to Girard Jesus' crucifixion and the spread of Christianity introduced a new plot to history, the victim becomes a hero by being a victim, an empathy for victims began to emerge. Today you can see that principle at work everywhere, people fighting for AIDS orphans in Africa, Tibetan refugees and uprooted Palestinians, even groups who oppose Christianity, for example gay rights activists, build their case on the foundation that the victim has the moral authority.

    What I am basically trying to say is that you can see a strong contrast in cultures that didn't have a lot of Christian influence, there is a very different mentality towards victims and the weak there (I especially remember my visit to Egypt, I really wasn't impressed by the atmosphere there, very harsh and during a short stay I witnessed several incidences of cruelty and a complete lack of compassion.) Obviously I am generalising, I am not trying to say that there is no compassion or care for the weak in Non-Christian countries, I just found Girard's study to be an interesting take on the differences in cultures.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lightyear View Post
    Though it's obviously not the same culture as China I remember reading in a book called "The Arab Mind" that violence is just seen as a fact of life in Arabic countries, there is an undercurrent of cruelty (generally towards people weaker than you/below you on the social ladder) that would be seen as unacceptable in Western countries. I remember reading this article (http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/201...-saudi-arabia/) about Indonesia banning its maids from working in Saudi Arabia since there is a huge problem of them being abused by their Saudi employers and I was thinking about what I had read.

    I read the same thing in Somali writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali's books "Infidel" and "Nomad"; where she grew up in Somalia violence was seen as a fact of everyday life, she was pitted against other children as a young girl so that she would learn how to fight since in Somali culture the stronger one is in the right. When she became a refugee in the Netherlands she was at first totally flabbergasted by Dutch people trying to talk problems through and trying to find a middle ground instead of the stronger one winning.

    I've also read about the French philosopher and anthropologist René Girard who was mystified by the fact that in modern times a 'marginalised' person or the victim assumes a moral authority since he found nothing comparable in his readings of ancient history. In the myths from Babylon, Greece and elsewhere the strong heroes and victors were celebrated, not the pitiable victims. After further research Girard traced the phenomenon back to the historical figure of Jesus, in contrast to all the heroic stories of his time Jesus took the side of the oppressed and marginalised and died a very non-heroic death as a prisoner of the Romans. According to Girard Jesus' crucifixion and the spread of Christianity introduced a new plot to history, the victim becomes a hero by being a victim, an empathy for victims began to emerge. Today you can see that principle at work everywhere, people fighting for AIDS orphans in Africa, Tibetan refugees and uprooted Palestinians, even groups who oppose Christianity, for example gay rights activists, build their case on the foundation that the victim has the moral authority.

    What I am basically trying to say is that you can see a strong contrast in cultures that didn't have a lot of Christian influence, there is a very different mentality towards victims and the weak there (I especially remember my visit to Egypt, I really wasn't impressed by the atmosphere there, very harsh and during a short stay I witnessed several incidences of cruelty and a complete lack of compassion.) Obviously I am generalising, I am not trying to say that there is no compassion or care for the weak in Non-Christian countries, I just found Girard's study to be an interesting take on the differences in cultures.
    Yes this brings up interesting points, and I've read this is one reason why many Chinese people are attracted to Christianity now as opposed to traditional Chinese religions(Confucianism, Taoism, etc.) - in that there's more room for a sense of being a person(both in the objective and subjective sense) in Christianity that is largely lacking in traditional Chinese thinking.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lightyear View Post
    I read the same thing in Somali writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali's books "Infidel" and "Nomad"; where she grew up in Somalia violence was seen as a fact of everyday life, she was pitted against other children as a young girl so that she would learn how to fight since in Somali culture the stronger one is in the right. When she became a refugee in the Netherlands she was at first totally flabbergasted by Dutch people trying to talk problems through and trying to find a middle ground instead of the stronger one winning.
    That's really interesting. That was my experience when I moved form Montana to NYC: I was shocked that people could exchange angry words and not come to blows. where I grew up you kept your mouth shut unless you could win the fight that would result; and it always ended up there.

  5. #25
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    [QUOTE=Lightyear;1709256]....
    I've also read about the French philosopher and anthropologist René Girard who was mystified by the fact that in modern times a 'marginalised' person or the victim assumes a moral authority since he found nothing comparable in his readings of ancient history. In the myths from Babylon, Greece and elsewhere the strong heroes and victors were celebrated, not the pitiable victims. After further research Girard traced the phenomenon back to the historical figure of Jesus, in contrast to all the heroic stories of his time Jesus took the side of the oppressed and marginalised and died a very non-heroic death as a prisoner of the Romans. According to Girard Jesus' crucifixion and the spread of Christianity introduced a new plot to history, the victim becomes a hero by being a victim, an empathy for victims began to emerge. Today you can see that principle at work everywhere, people fighting for AIDS orphans in Africa, Tibetan refugees and uprooted Palestinians, even groups who oppose Christianity, for example gay rights activists, build their case on the foundation that the victim has the moral authority. QUOTE]

    I believe that (the bolded) is what Nietzsche referred to as 'slave morality', when the victim gains the moral high ground over the conquerer.
    I think this is a misreading of history, however. Jesus didn't bring victimization to the fore as valorization; he brought a capacity for empathetic understanding of human relationship and their relationship to god, which is a very different and much needed notion vis-à-vis this Chinese story.

  6. #26
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    There was a similar thread a while back about how no one (in an American city) was willing to help a stabbing victim and died as a result.

    Edit - Note to Jennifer, I am not talking about Kitty Genovese.
    Though that thread was here:
    http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...onscience.html

    Edit 2 - found the thread I was talking about:
    http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...ngs-world.html
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_dying_and_ignored

  7. #27
    Filthy Apes! Kalach's Avatar
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    If there genuinely were some relatively universal culture of indifference to others in China, then Chinese themselves would have little to say about the incident. But Chinese webspace is alive with the story. Lots of fairly abstract self-criticism. A little, but not very, different from the soul searching that goes on in English-speaking countries when stuff like this happens there. It seems to have a quite naive tone too, from the little I've read about.

    The thing about Chinese (in China) not daring to help for fear of consequences is not true. It is what everyone, including Chinese commentators themselves, think is the source of this apparent callousness, but--for no special reason--I think it's not so. It seems to me it's more like an absence of instutitions rather than a presence of negative consequences. Rightly or wrongly, the good Samaritan, the helper, the paramedic even, doesn't exist in the culture. Such roles aren't particularly well supported by either infrastructure (that I'm aware of) nor even, well, meme. No one knows what to do. Put them under stress and perhaps they'll know even less of what to do.
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  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catbert View Post
    There was a similar thread a while back about how no one (in an American city) was willing to help a stabbing victim and died as a result.
    That situation (Kitty Genovese) has been dissected pretty carefully over the years and the reality of it deviates from the urban legend elements of it.
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  9. #29
    lab rat extraordinaire CrystalViolet's Avatar
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    Oh God, I watched the video. What was she doing on the street by herself? And they picked her up like a rag doll.
    A few years ago, I stopped a kid about three years old from running off a train platform onto the path of an oncoming train. Just grabbed the wee winkle by her hoodie. Not the dad's fault, he just looked away for a second, while struggling with her pram. Funny thing was I was the futherest person away from little girl, and I was the only one who did some thing ( mind you that could have been a reflex thing too, she was damned quick, if I'd been a second too slow, I'm pretty sure it would have splashed all over the news.) Thing is litigation was the last thing on my mind, and I could have hurt her real bad, but that's better than being mashed all over a train track. Luckily I'm guessing dad thought that too. Because I never heard anything more. It kinda shocked me at the time I was the only person who reacted to the situation though, I was a good 50m away, I'm pretty sure I had to push people out the way too.
    I guess what I'm trying to say is do people really think " Ooooo, better not help, I might get sued?" because that wasn't going through my head. I didn't think.
    Those people didn't even look at the little girl who was run over. She was just a piece of rubbish. The first van was unbelievable though. They didn't even get out.
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  10. #30
    Alexander the Terrible yenom's Avatar
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    [YOUTUBE="j-20dURI9qA"]Americans sure have compassion of their own[/YOUTUBE]
    The fear of poverty turns people into slaves of money.

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