Archive for the ‘Individualism’ category

Finns and truth-seeking

October 16, 2011

Among western nations, Finland has a reputation for having the most Japanese-like culture. Finns themselves are known for being very introverted and having a language which sounds more Asian than European.

One author who has looked into Finnish culture in-depth is US business writer Richard D Lew, author of Finland  – Cultural Lone Wolf. According to Lew, Finns (especially male Finns) are very Asian-like in communication style, and very different to North Americans. However they’re pretty western-like in terms of political values and intellectual temperament.

Take their attitude to truth-seeking for example. In Japan truth is regarded as a dangerous concept, while in China there is no such concept as absolute truth, but Finns enjoy making direct statements that would be regarded as taboo by the Japanese. So in terms of truth-seeking and scientific inquiry, Finns are pretty much like other white westerners.

When it comes to political values, Finn’s also tend to follow conventional western views. Lew rates Finns as being strong supporters of contemporary western principles of equality for women, democracy, human rights, self-determination and environmentalism. Asian principles of fatalism, acceptance of hierarchies and environmental pragmatism don’t tend to hold much influence in mainstream Finnish society.

Thus it seems that while communication-styles vary a lot among western nations, individualism and truth-seeking are found in all western nations. Given this consistency, it seems likely there’s some biological basis for these values which are much less common in non-white parts of the world.