Svetlana Levanova, 512 AE
It is believed that we learn our culture only through knowledge of
other cultures. That is why it is necessary to compare and analyze their
basic values and beliefs.
The most important thing to understand about American is probably
their devotion to individualism. They have been trained since very early in
their lives to consider themselves as separate individuals who are
responsible for their own situations in life and their own destinies. They
have not been trained to see themselves as members of a close-knit, tightly
interdependent family, religious group, tribe, nation, or other
collectivity. Conversely Russians find themselves part of some group. They
always have some kind of attachment, especially family relations.
Another distinctive difference is in the attitude to change and
future. Americans are generally less concerned about history and traditions
than are people from older societies. "History doesn't matter," many of
them will say. "It's the future that counts." They look ahead. People from
many other cultures, as well as Russian, have a pronounced reverence for
the past. In those cultures the future is considered to be in the hands of
fate, God, or at least the few powerful people or families dominating
Time is also of great importance in the USA. For Americans, time is a
resource, like water or coal, which can be used well or poorly. "Time is
money." Thus, Americans admire a well-organized person, one who has a
written list of things to do and a schedule for doing them. The ideal
person is punctual and considerate of other people's time. Russians are
more likely to conceive of time as something that is simply there around
them, not something they can use.
The values and beliefs that we point out as national can be found
worldwide. But what is plausible in the USA is not quite valid in Russia.
Whereas Americans value one concept, in Russia it is not paid any special