Cultural Intelligence:

World Cultures

East* versus West

Philosophy, Cultural Values, and Mindset

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By Vadim Kotelnikov, founder of 1000ventures - personal logo Vadim Kotelnikov and  Anastasia Bibikova






Cultural Differences

Broadly, speaking,

Western society strives to find and prove "the truth",

while Eastern society accepts the truth as given and is more interested in finding the balance.


Westerners put more stock in individual rights;

Easterners in social responsibly.

Eastern vs. Western Philosophy Wheel of Life Vadim Kotelnikov




Eastern Philosophy

Western Philosophy

Main Schools

Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Integral Yoga, Islam, Taoism, Zen

Christianity**, Rational, Scientific, Logical schools

Main Principles

  1. Cosmological unity

  2. Life is a journey towards eternal realities that are beyond the realities that surround us

  3. Circular   view of the universe, based on the perception of eternal recurrence

  4. Inner-world dependent

  5. Self-liberation from the false "Me" and finding the true "Me". The highest state is believed to be a state of 'no-self', where neither self-worth nor self-importance have any real meaning.

  6. Behavioral ethics

  1. Feeling oneself as an element of the Divine

  2. Life is a service (to the God, money, business, etc.)

  3. Linear view of the universe and life, based on the Christian philosophy where everything has its beginning and the end.

  4. Outer-world dependent

  5. Self-dedication to the goal (life vision, success, happiness, etc.)

The "Me" concept

Eternal reality of the universal truth: self-liberation through getting rid of the false "Me" and discovering the true "Me"

"Me" is here and now. The true “Me” in every human being is a part of the Divine that need to become apparent. True “Me” is given and doesn’t have to be cognizable.

Relationship with Religion



Search for Absolute Truth

  • Systemic approach – all events in the universe are interconnected

  • Searching inside yourself – by becoming a part of the universe through meditation and right living

"Though he should live a hundred years, not seeing the Truth Sublime; yet better, indeed, is the single day's life of one who sees the Truth Sublime." ~ Buddha

  • More focused on individual events and the role of the person

  • Searching outside yourself - through research and analysis

"The truth that survives is simply the lie that is pleasantest to believe." ~ H.L.Mencken

Search for Truth & Fundamental Research

The truth is given is does not to have be proved.
The philosophic base for and culture of fundamental research is

The truth needs to be proved.
The philosophic base for and culture of fundamental research is






Your future is determined by your deeds today.

"Study the past if you would like to divine the future." 

Your future is unknown, it was predetermined by God and is not much influenced by your deeds.

"You can never plan the future by the past." ~ Edmund Burke

Beliefs and Values

The true key is inside. The inner world of a human being and his or her ability to control and develop it is of the highest value. The way to the top is inside yourself, through self-development.

"The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell." ~ Confucius

"By chasing desires you will meet only the outer surface."
~ Lao Tzu

The main values are success and achievement. These that can be achieved in many ways, but rarely through developing  inner strength. The majority of success  and achievement criteria have an external nature (money, faith, popularity, etc.). The way to the top is through active outside intervention.

"Happiness lies in virtuous activity, and perfect happiness lies in the best activity, which is contemplative." ~ Aristotle

Individualism / Collectivism

A human being is an integral part of the universe and the society. People are fundamentally connected. Duty towards all others is a very important matter.
Collectivism is stronger.

A human being has an individualistic nature and is an independent part of the universe and the society. Individualism is stronger.

Improvement / Evolution

Cyclic development, hence improvement  is a never ending journey that has no limits.

Linear development, hence improvement has a goal. Development stops when the goal is reached.

Radical Innovation / Revolution

The fundamentals of the status quo should not be questioned. The culture of considering and introducing radical changes is weaker.

The fundamentals of the status quo can – and often should – be questioned. The culture of considering and introducing radical changes is stronger.


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Passion & Venturing

Entrepreneurial creativity and venturing is contained by the habit to control one's passions.

"Desires are the cause of suffering. If desire, which lies at the route of all human passion, can be removed, then passion will die out and all human suffering will be ended." ~ Buddhism

"Vain indeed is all overweening pride in the conquest even of the entire universe if one has not conquered one's own passions." ~ Sri Aurobindo

Entrepreneurial venturing is encouraged emotionally.

"Nothing is ever achieved by reasonable men." – J Fred Bucy of Texas Instruments

"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm... Always do what you are afraid to do... Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"If you want to succeed, you have to forge new paths and avoid borrowed ones." ~ John Rockfeller

Achievement & Winning

Winning is inside yourself. >>>

"Though he should conquer a thousand men in the battlefield a thousand times, yet he, indeed, who would conquer himself is the noblest victor." ~ Buddha

"He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty." ~ Lao Tzu

"The most excellent Jihad is that for the conquest of self."
– Mohammad

Winning is outside yourself.

"You're not a star until they can spell your name in Karachi."
~ Roger Moore

"Life affords no higher pleasure than that of surmounting difficulties, passing from one stop of success to another, forming new wishes and seeing them gratified."
~ Samuel Johnson

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult."


Spiritual and missionary approach.

"To create and develop without any feelings of ownership, to work and guide without any expectation and control, is the best quality" ~ Lao Tzu

To achieve self-liberation and nirvana you need to perform your duties without expecting any reward for it. ~ Vedanta, Hinduism

"Action can be achieved by inaction, where the result is achieved by "Not-Me" ~ Zen

Pragmatic and emotional approach.

"The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play." ~ Arnold Toynbee

"Since most of us spend our lives doing ordinary tasks, the most important thing is to carry them out extraordinary well." ~ Henry David Thoreau

"Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution." ~ Brian Tracy



Goals & Key to Success


"Virtuous life and adherence to performing your duties."
~ Confucianism

"The Three Armies can be deprived of their commanding officer, but even a common man cannot be deprived of his purpose." ~ Confucius

"If you really want everything, then give up everything."
~ Lao Tzu

"He is able who thinks he is able." ~ Buddha


"The secret of success in life, and subsequently of making money, is to enjoy your work. If you do, nothing is hard work – no matter how many hours you put in." ~ Sir Billy Butlin

"Success is that old ABC – ability, breaks and courage."
~ Charles Luckman

"Flaming enthusiasm, backed by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success."
Dale Carnegie

Living Principles


"Be satisfied with whatever you have, and enjoy the same. When you come to know that you have everything, and you are not short of anything, then the whole world will be yours." ~ Lao Tzu

"The thought manifests as the word; The word manifests as the deed; The deed develops into habit; And habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and its ways with care, And let it spring from love born out of concern for all beings."
~ Buddha


"Refrain from doing ill; for one all powerful reason, lest our children should copy our misdeeds; we are all to prone to imitate whatever is base and depraved."
~ Juvenal

"There is no real excellence in all this world which can be separated from right living."
~ David Starr Jordan

Establishing Control Over Your Emotions

Through meditation

A man can separate his/her mind from his/her emotions and control them. ~ Taoism

Through analysis

"I can control my passions and emotions if I can understand their nature." ~ Spinosa


Spiritual; walking behind people; silence is golden.

"In order to guide people, the leader must put himself behind them. Thus when he is ahead they feel no hurt." ~ Lao Tzu

Hands-on; walking ahead of people; speech is golden.

"Leadership is done from in front. Never ask others to do what you, if challenged, would not be willing to do yourself."
~ Xenophon




* Eastern philosophy is a group of philosophies and religions originating in Asia – China, India, Japan, Southeast Asia, and Arabic countries

** Through Christianity originated in Asia geographically, culturally it's considered to be a Western religion that originated in the Mediterranean region



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  1. Eastern Philosophy, Richard Osborn and Borin van Loon

  2. History of Religion, Sergei Tokarev

  3. The Rider Encyclopaedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion

  4. Key Concepts in Eastern Philosophy, Oliver Leaman

  5. A History of Western Philisophy, Bertrand Russell

  6. The Art of Worldly Wisdom, Baltasar Gracian

  7. The Art of Happiness, HH the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet and Howard C. Cutler

  8. Seven Masters, One Path, John Selby

  9. Learn Zen Meditation, David Fontan

  10. Tao Te Chin, Lao Tzu

  11. The Tao of Leadership, John Heider

  12. Zen at Work, Les Kaye