American values


                                                   Svetlana Levanova, 512 AE
                                   Values
      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
society.
      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
attention.