David Brooks: the West may be doomed by its linear thinking style

In Western Men Are Doomed, David Brooks expressed the opinion that Western linear thinking was less valid than the Asian contextual and associational style.

I found the following excerpt to be something worth pondering:

Asians place emphasis on context while Westerners place more emphasis on individuals. This seems like a gross generalization but it is robustly supported by hundreds and hundreds of studies. Richard Nisbett’s book, The Geography of Thought summarizes some of the evidence.

If you show Americans a fish tank, they’ll talk about the biggest fish in the tank. If you show Asians a tank they will make, on average, 60 percent more references to the context and the features of the scene. Western parents tend to emphasize nouns and categories when teaching their kids, Korean parents tend to emphasize verbs and relationships. If you show Americans a picture of a chicken, a cow and grass, they will lump the chicken and the cow, because they are both animals. Asians are more likely to lump the cow and the grass because cows eat grass. They have a relationship. The mode of thought more common in Asia is better suited to the complex networks that make up the modern world. The contextual, associational style is simply more valid. The linear style we’ve inherited from the Greeks is less adaptive toward the modern age. I think the West may be doomed. Source: Western Men Are Doomed, a NYT Opinionator | Exclusive Online Commentary blog post by David Brooks and Gail Collins.