Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by Vivemafille, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. Vivemafille Senior Member

    我行我素, 个人主义, or 追求个性?

    Which translation for 'individualism' is appropriate for the following context?
    "Perhaps the most important thing to understand about Americans is their strong belief in individualism. They are trained from childhood to consider themselves as separate individuals who are responsible for their own situations in life and in charge of their own destinies. American society does not train people to see themselves as members of a close-knit, interdependent family or nation."
  2. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    I'd prefer 个人主义. Some Chinese associate it with negative ideas, but to me, it's a neutral word, and it means exactly what you context describes.
  3. Vivemafille Senior Member

    Thank you. When you say 'negative ideas', do you mean 'selfishness'? I've heard that the word 'individual' is often confused with 'selfish', with the idea of only thinking about yourself, not being concerned about others, only doing what serves your own interests.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2013
  4. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    Exactly. Since China traditionally emphasizes the importance of "collectivism", "individualism" would be a "heretical" belief. You have to admit that though, comparing to "collectivism", which ideology advocates you have ALWAYS to be responsible to the whole group, and you'd rather die for it, "individualism" IS relatively "selfish". :p
    To many of my parent's generation (who was born in 1950's and has taken part in the Communist's Great Cultural Revolution), "individualism" would definitely be a bad, even "counter-revolutionary" term.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2013
  5. Vivemafille Senior Member

    These are concepts/notions that are dramatically different in western and eastern cultures, and so hard for foreigners to understand. I guess my 'software' will run in your culture, but there will always be glitches, many of which I am unaware of. :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2013
  6. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    I've added a comment in my previous post. That shows some different ideas. :p

    By the way, to your three words:

    我行我素 negative, don't care about other's opinions.
    个人主义 neutral. An ideology.
    追求个性 positive, pursue your own style, show your uniqueness.

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