A comparison of Eastern and Western Culture – Essay

There is a great difference between the cultures of Europe and Asia. Rudyard Kipling, the well know English poet, was struck by this difference and expressed the view that the two can never live together and co-operate as equals. Let us here first consider the salient features of the Eastern and Western cultures, and then examine how far the view expressed by Kipling in correct.

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The East stands for spiritualism, the West for materialism, people of the East care more for the development of the soul and for life after death than for the life in this world and for physical comforts. The Westerners, one the other hand, are worldly minded. They do not care for any future life, but want to enjoy their present life. Hence, we find in the West a mad race for wealth, luxury and comfort. The East has been the birthplace of the great religious teachers- Christ, Buddha, Gandhi, etc were born, and it was here that they lived and preached. The west, on the other hand, is the home of modern science and technology. Wonderful inventions have been made. Man has acquired power over nature and he is now capable of performing miracles worthy of the gods.

The Eastern and the Western Temperaments too, are poles apart. The Easterners are tolerant and self-sacrificing. They are peace-loving. They do not like to cause the least harm to others. They can bear the greatest hardship for others, and can sacrifice their own good for the common cause. Their social life is peaceful. As far as possible they like to settle their differences through mutual agreement and compromise. The Westerners, one the other hand, are quarrelsome and aggressive. They cannot tolerate the views of others. They care more for their own good than for the good of others. They are selfish and uncompromising.


No doubt, the Westerners have greater means of comfort and luxury, but all their worldly wealth does not bring them any greater happiness. Their scientist have manufactured Atom Bomb and the Hydrogen bomb with which they can destroy each other. They live in constant fear of war and destruction. The satisfaction of one want leads to another and so they are ever dissatisfied and miserable. The Easterners believed in the limitation of wants and so they are happy in spite of their poverty. They may not have the power over nature that the Westerners have but they have the power of soul.

Until now the East and the West are kept apart. the The Westerner, with their feeling of superiority, came to the East only to rule and to exploit. They looked down upon the Easterners and considered them uncivilized barbarians. But now the conditions are fast changing. The East is coming into it own. More and more Westerners are now realizing that the Easterners-India, China and Japan-have brought about a change in the attitude of the West towards the East. They are shedding their superiority and meeting the East on terms of equality. The views of Kipling now longer holds true today.

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