In Wuhu Diary author Emily Prager takes her adopted daughter back to her hometown in China. She wants LuLu, nearly five when they make the trip, to see the area in which she was born and found and lived her first seven months. In the early part of the book, Emily and LuLu went to a park where several families gathered. I found this observation worth sharing because Emily's thoughts on the individual's importance in Western culture slightly shocked me. Until...I thought about it and realized it was probably true.
"I am feeling pretty relaxed, although I am the only Westerner in the park. It will take a week or two for me to change myself so I can walk around China. My awareness of myself has to vanish completely. Right now, I am still too self-conscious. After all, this is a culture where the whole is greater than the individual, and I have just come out of a culture where the individual is more important than God. ..." (pg. 21)
What do you think? Do you agree with Emily or do you think this was a slight exaggeration on her part? At the very least I think it was an interesting way to get across the point that individualism is pretty important to us. Do you consider us too individualistic, not enough or just about right? Where would you like to see some improvements? What are the benefits of individualism, if any? What are drawbacks of it? What are the benefits of a more collectivist society such as China?