What is "Eastern" Happiness? #103
Erich Fromm and Lin Yutang on cultural differences
Erich Fromm and Bhutan’s National Happiness
In a famous passage, which we discussed in a previous post, psychologist and philosopher Erich Fromm compares what he calls the “Eastern” way of seeing the world with the “Western” way.
(I prefer to put “Eastern” in quotation marks here, because it really seems a bit odd and haphazard to stuff Mongolian, Tibetan, Indian, Pakistani, Burmese, Malay, Thai, Chinese, Korean and Japanese cultures, along with dozens of others, into one category. “Western” might arguably denote something more consistent and uniform, since the European/American West has a long tradition of at least having a common Christian foundation, common origins in Greek and Roman philosophy and history, and a pervasively uniform, mainly US-led pop culture in the present.)
Fromm, in his book “To Have or To Be,” presents two poems and asks us to witness the cultural differences in the way the two poets react to the beauty of a flower: