Everything is relative, cultural difference being no exception. Culture, as the total pattern of human behavior and its products, oversteps geographical limits and historical conditions in many ways, and it is characterized by its strong penetrativeness and fusibility.
The advancement of the globalized economy and the rapidity and ease of modern communication, transportation, and mass media have resulted in an ever increasing exchange between cultures, unprecedented in scale, scope, and speed. Consequently, an increase in universality and a reduction in difference between cultures is an inevitable trend. It is no surprise to see phenomena characteristic of one culture existing in another. As a result, some people even fear that the world will become a dull place when all the different nationalities behave exactly alike.Nevertheless, the “cultural sediment” formed through long-range accumulation is not to be easily removed, and the cultural tradition handed down from generation to generation shows great consistency and continuity. The cultures of different regions and nations still have their own distinctive peculiarities, and therefore significance still needs to be attached to the study of the individualities of different cultures against the background of their universality.
By and large, linearity and circularity can be used to indicate the major difference between Western and Chinese cultures. “Western culture” here is a general term, putting aside its interior regional diversities in order to contrast it with Chinese culture. A circle is a round enclosure. A line is a narrow continuous mark. The contrast between the linearity of Western culture and the circularity of Chinese culture embodies itself in such aspects as worldview, core value, outlook on time, and mode of thinking.
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