The Rise of Collectivism
“Harmony And The Dream” by David Brooks emphasizes that the ideal of collectivist societies like China become more appealing than individual societies. Brooks defines Americans as individuals and Asians as contexts by some experiments. There are obvious differences between individualistic countries and collective societies. The former emphasizes rights and privacy, but the later prefer harmony and duty. The author also lists the example of the opening ceremony in Beijing. The example shows that harmonious society contributed to the fast speed of China.
Therefore, the influence of harmony is larger than the impact of American Dream. “If you show an American an image of a fish tank, the American will usually describe the biggest fish in the tank and what it is doing. If you ask a Chinese person to describe a fish tank, the Chinese will usually describe the context in which the fish swim.” Brooks uses comparison to explain the different views between American and Chinese. Americans pay more attention to the only one, but Chinese focus on the context.
The example helps us to understand the divide between individualist mentality and collectivist mentality. Definition is also used in the article. “The individualistic countries tend to put rights and privacy first. People in collective societies tend to value harmony and duty.” This definition deepen the understanding of differences and shows the thesis of the article.
The last one is transition. Before paragraph12, the author prefers Eastern collectivist societies. But Brooks also narrates the reasons why individualism can sweep the field. The author thinks subconscious influences and permeability of human’s brain are two essences. Western people are deeply influenced by individualism. In conclusion, Brooks tend to approve the ideal of collective collective. He also admits the success of western individualism.