For the past 30 years, the world has been looking at the West as the model to follow
Incentivizing the pursuit of individual gain and success achieved by exploiting available resources has become the way for many nations to seek to achieve development and success.
However, as Hofstede indicates with his 6 dimensions framework, even though countries all seem to be rushing to become miniUS, nations have values that differ.
Western cultures value individualism. Their people believe to be independent of one another, and most consider themselves responsible for a group limited only to their nuclear family.
On their end, the member of Asians and African cultures, for example, traditionally see themselves as interdependent. They consequently typically assume responsibility for much broader communities.
Religions and philosophies also show some other important differences between people and their relationship to the world.
As an example, the traditional perception of time in the West and many other cultures are different.
Westerners typically have a linear view of time and see humans as the masters of the creation. In Christian dogma, people are born, and then they die, and Humankind is superior to all forms of life.
In Buddhism, Hinduism, and Animism, however, humans are regarded on an equal footing with other animals, plants, and living beings. Time, on its end, is thought to be either circular with cycles of reincarnations on the journey to enlightenment or intricately connected to the world of the afterlife.
One could argue that through colonialism, capitalism, and globalization, the adoption of the western view of the world has been shifting the values and ways of living of millions of people towards more individualist and disconnected societies.
If it might not be true at every levels, it is for sure the case of our economic system.
The current way we do business demonstrates it perfectly. Capitalism today often means the sole pursuit of personal gain, and this at all socially accepted cost. Hardcore capitalists do not incorporate in their bottom lines and quarterly reviews any vision for their impact on other members of societies, or our planet.They do not treat their community and environment with respect, nor do they apply themselves to create value for others than themselves
Why would they? We value individualism, we care only about our nuclear families, and we believe that we are superior to any existing creatures.
Therefore, the western model of success is measured solely in personal enrichment. And the said enrichment is created extracting resources without parsimony.
For maybe as long as capitalism has been raging, Holywood has tried to depict the west as the world that we should all aspire to. If many societal signs of progress were possible thanks to how we have built societies and industries until now, there is no doubt that the model is outdated and that we are not living in the perfect world in which we want to think we are.
The things is that we no longer have the time to live in a rom-com fiction. We need to be willing to accept our reality as it is the only way to transform it.
We will need to move from a world created around a system where individualism and the exploitation of people and our environment prevails, to a more sustainable, more just and inclusive one. To do so, we will need to embrace some of the values of other cultures and learn to see ourselves as a part of an ecoystem much bigger than we are, a realm full of wonders and diversity of people and lives, and of which we have inherited the responsibility to be the custodians.
It is only by moving from ego to eco that we will be able to preserve and regenerate the world we want to live in. Of course, it might not look like the Hollywood movie we are used to, but it is between our hands to rewrite the story the world aspires to live.
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