"In the West, people tend to regard people as individuals who feel free to pursue their self-interests, to marry or not to marry, and to do what they want with their private property. Individualism is stressed through cultural beliefs and ideologies that serve as a basis for the economic, social political, legal, and religious institutions.
In India, Hindu philosophy treats individuals as members of caste groups, which are linked to one another in a social hierarchy. Thus, from a Hindu vantage point, individuals cannot be thought of as seperate from their social environment.
In China, the individual is inclined to be socially and psychologically dependent on others. Individuals in China are strongly encouraged to conform to familistic and group norms........" (Raymond Scupin. Cultural Anthropology. Pg. 75)
1. To what extent are your views of yourself as a distinct individual influenced by prevailing social norms?
2. What would be the advantages and disadvantages of a system that emphasizes the overall society rather than the individual?