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 six dimensions framework, even though countries all seem to be rushing to become mini-US, 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, and they consequently typically assume responsibility for much broader communities.
Religions and philosophies also show other essential differences between people and their relationship to the world.
For example, the traditional perception of time in the West and many other cultures is 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.
However, in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Animism, humans are regarded as equal 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 millions of people’s values and ways of living towards more individualist and disconnected societies.
If it might not be true at every level, it is undoubtedly 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, which is at all socially accepted costs. Hardcore capitalists do not incorporate in their bottom lines and quarterly reviews any vision for their impact on other members of society 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, care only about our nuclear families, and 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 by 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 live in. 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 thing is that we no longer have the time to live in 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 ecosystem 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 seeing, but it is between our hands to rewrite the story the world aspires to live.
Please excuse typos, repeats, or any non-sense. My riffs are unedited outpouring of words written in one sitting to explore thoughts that were volunteering to be developed.