The Traits of the Western World

After watching the TED talk by Hans Rosling, I was captivated by his scientific approach. I loved the mathematical graph that showed the progression of GDP in each country. I started the video and expected a boring economics lecture. However, Rosling created a simple, creative, and visual approach that anyone could understand. Rosling realized that when he studied in India, surprising, most of the students were smarter than him. By graphing the slope of each growth, Rosling discovered that India and China would reach the GDP of the West by 2048. Coming to Andover, I definitely know how Rosling felt. However, it is interesting how the Westerners believe that they are inherently “smarter,” and better than Easterners. I think it is critical that even if you aren’t the best, you must portray an attitude that you believe in yourself. This attitude is something that has been intrinsically engrained into the Western culture, or at least more than in the East.  I wonder how this attitude is generated? One factor would be wealth, even though it doesn’t necessarily equate education and make people smarter. Because the Western world is richer, they have a certain attitude that transfers to everything such as education. Although this character is very haughty and conceited, it allows Western powers to maintain its power and be the frontrunners of the world.

Even if Asia surpasses the West, would it be able to assume the attitude needed for a world leader? Rosling’s graph shows that Asia will surpass the US and United Kingdom in GDP in 2048, a date that seems so soon. However, after all of their years of subordination, I find it difficult to believe that India and Asia would be able to assert their power. Also, I don’t think that the West would ever accept the dominance of the East.

During our Niswarth meetings, I have slowly realized my own stereotypes and arrogance. These traits that influence the Western powers have also inclined my own expectations of India. Our trip will be a wake-up call that will turn all my assumptions upside down. Just as the West would never lose its natural dominance, I wonder how I will react to our travels.

After finishing In Spite of Gods: The Rise of Modern India, I thought I would have more background knowledge, but I’m still lost. Although I now know the context of India, I don’t know what to expect when we travel. These assumptions of India will inherently conflict my experience, but the best way to dispel them.