Friday, July 08, 2011

Jewish and Chinese American Ideas on the Humanities

Yesterday I recorded a podcast with my Jewish American friend Hertsel.  We discussed Jewish American and Chinese American culture.  Many people have said that the cultures are similar, and in many cases I agree--in many (but not all), there tends to be a focus on family, education, and prosperity.  But from the experiences I've heard and read through the years, there is one area which modern Chinese American culture does not emphasize: respect and appreciation for the Humanities.  If there is one area in which Chinese American culture can improve, I believe it's in its attention to the Humanities.  It's almost impossible to learn real critical thinking through only math and science.  Life is much more. 

And in the future, our economy will depend a lot more on creative thinking.  It isn't just a quality of life issue; it's an economic issue and a prosperity issue. 

Anyway, I had blogged about Raising Asian Kids Jewish before.  And of course, the Jewish/Asian thing came up not too long ago with the whole Amy Chua thing.  I was glad to finally be able to speak about this issue and to examine the philosophical and historical underpinnings of how a culture can create a focus on the humanities.

Check out the podcast here.


Alex said...

Interesting post. I'm filipino and in my opinion, the traditional families from my culture also focus on math and science, so the children can find a good job when they finish university. There's a lack of enthusiasm or encouragement to pursue careers in more "humanities" related fields.

kstone said...

Instead of humanity I would say creativity. History made Jews to be creative, something China did not have to worry about.
If you want to have a deeper understanding of how these two culture correlate to each other, you could take look at my book "The Covenant and the Mandate of Heaven:an in-depth comparative cultural study of Judaism and China" (available on Amazon, e-book).

provo security systems said...

Culture is indeed important to have, especially applying it to people with same race as us.

JadeLuckClub said...

Amen to your post about the importance of creativity and taking the path less traveled.