We have repeatedly written about the differences in mentality between Eastern European and Western European cultures. Today we would like to find out why there are differences in values and attitudes due to the country of origin? What is a mentality? How is it formed? What are the differences between people’s mentality and individual worldview?
Worldview, a set of values and orientations, characteristic for an individual or for a whole nation. Mentality includes life orientations, spiritual values, which are the basis for the perception of events, life situations, the world around.
Mentality indirectly affects actions and decision making. It is a peculiar regulator of behavior that is always “behind the scenes”. A person can perform certain actions, perceive the world, surrounding people, life situations through the prism of cultural, spiritual values without realizing/not feeling that his/her mentality influences him/her.
Mentality is a complex formation, the “fruit” of the interaction of several factors, the impact of which cannot be separated from each other or limited. A distinction is made between the mentality of a nation and the mentality, the value orientations of an individual.
Mentality on the level of a nation/ethnic group
Mentality of a nation includes a system of values of the society, established, accepted or emerged as a result of historical development. These are stereotypes of behavior and decision-making, moral norms, attitudes and views dominating in the society. The worldview inherent in a certain ethnic group is formed during the history of existence of this ethnic community under the influence of the following factors:
- culture, cultural heritage;
- historical events of global or national significance;
- social and economic situation in the society. For example, the collapse of the USSR and related economic and social changes influenced the mentality of post-Soviet residents.
One should not underestimate the influence of religion on formation of mentality of people. The most vivid example is the worldview, the picture of the world characteristic of Islamic states.
National mentality characterizes not external but internal differences of people. For example, national costume, music are means of self-expression of people; ideas about family, distribution of gender roles in the society are the internal content of an ethnic group, a part of its mentality.
Mentality on the personal level
A person’s mentality is the value, moral attitudes of an individual, forming his life goals and characterizing the methods for achieving them. Every person’s mentality expresses his/her difference from the mass, from the social community. At the personal level, the formation of the mentality, the view of the world is influenced by:
- values that are accepted in the family, what parents brought up;
- the view of the world inherent in the parents;
- attitudes towards religion within the family;
- mentality of the people, ethnic group in which the person grew up and was brought up;
- level and direction of his education;
- values, which were adopted under the influence of important, respected personalities: teachers, representatives of the older generation, thinkers, politicians, public figures or idols;
- self-development – everything that the person discovered for himself/herself, his/her interests;
- life experience (including, for example, the experience of relations with the opposite sex, which influences the arrangement of priorities, values in relations, in one’s own family).
Mentality of the Europeans
The European mentality, the European outlook is characterized by respect for: values of personality, freedom of speech, equality of men and women, freedom of choice (at the global level and at the individual level – freedom of self-expression, choice of life path, freedom to love), respect for differences inherent to people as individuals, for the work and the activity of the other person.
Getting to know Europeans and knowing their mentality
The culture of our ancestors, our parents’ upbringing, the ideas we have “gathered” in the course of our lives, occupy an important place in each of us. Consciously or not, we succumb to the influence of these “invisible advisers”. It is possible to study the behaviour stereotypes of the representatives of this or that nationality from the beginning to the end, but is it right to reduce every man to a certain set of qualities/ stereotypes characteristic of his nation? Undoubtedly, knowledge of peculiarities of mentality of inhabitants of Western European countries will help to understand their values, their way of thought and way of life. However, we would like to proclaim the uniqueness of each individual. After all, the national mentality, combined with personal experience of the person, his values, education, upbringing, which was given to him by his parents, give birth to his individuality. Try to see in every person, in every man you meet, first of all, as a person, with his uniqueness and uniqueness inherent in him.