When Western thinking Fails

When I lived in Japan, I got exposure to Eastern ways of thinking, which I share generously in this blog. Print journalism did well during the early 2000s, before social media overtook our cognitive systems. You could always count on English newspapers like the Japan Times to highlight Asian politics, news, and opinion columnists — on top of the heavily Westernized news highlights.

In these troubled times, there’s a big push to double down on cryptocurrencies (assuming the dollar will crash), to move to Texas (which I’ve done) because California will succumb to climate change if not from poor governance, and to prepare for the End times by avoiding large metros (with a raging pandemic lurking in every public space).

Western news sources have become binary. CNN says one thing. Fox News tells me to do the opposite. I unplugged from the noise coming from Facebook and Twitter, which anoints average Joes as experts and narcissistic salespersons. Science tells me that I have to lock myself at home with my family like a hikikomori for many years to come. The podcaster Joe Rogan tells me getting Covid will become life’s rite of passage if one works out like a champ. Tough people get through life. Wimps lose, as he seems to assert frequently. This is America, after all.

I harken back to my time in Japan when I absorbed other perspectives daily, which didn’t seem so strident. Andrew Sheng, an academic based in Hong Kong, writes insightfully about the need for alternative approaches to Western problem-solving, which sometimes fails “by clinging to zero-sum logic, binary thinking, and futile competition.” Is it possible that Asian countries will be better off in a complex world needing more open-minded thinking? I don’t entirely agree with this column, but I feel this perspective will gain traction as China, India, and Southeast Asia thrive in the coming years.