I saw ‘Hero’ this weekend (it was pretty good) and it got me thinking. Why do some (most?) eastern cultures have such a strong sense of honor that very few western cultures share? There were many times in this movie where essentially the characters said “I love you but I have to kill you because…” or “I now have to kill myself because…” Why is honor and family and ancestry so highly regarded in these cultures, but not in the west? I understand that these stories are set in the past, but even in the past, I don’t think the Greeks or the Romans were disemboweling themselves rather than live with the shame of loosing honor.
I think the closest you get to any of these themes in the west would be the medieval knights and chivalry, but from what I can tell, chivalry is not devotion on the same level as the samurai and such.
In fact, my friend who speaks mandarin Chinese informed that the biggest I-want-to-start-a-real-fight-F-you swear in Chinese translates into ‘Your father cries” as in your family has no honor and you are all weak.
Share your thoughts?