Cultural difference: temporality

Experiences are structured differently in different cultures. We believe that it is possible to give a true description of this difference, at some level or the other, as a difference regarding the experience of time itself. Consider the traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. One of the central notions in these traditions is that of temporality. That is, they believe that all events, processes, and objects are transient, irreversible, and fleeting. From this experience of transience and very few assumptions about human psychology, these traditions have quasi-derived some of the most fascinating doctrines that we know of. It is worthwhile to contrast these with Judeo-Christian traditions, where this kind of temporality plays no role. It is possible to explain the actions of people in these cultures, at some level of adequacy, by appealing to their conceptions and/or experiences of time. One can research on the question “does not their experience of transience play a causal role in the actions they perform?”

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