We have been persuaded that all cultures are equal and they all should be respected. That makes sense, particularly in a multi-cultural society, where people must cooperate without being put down by criticizing their cultures.
Nevertheless, certain aspects of some cultures are fascinating.
In some cultures first comes the natural disaster, then comes the looting, like day follows night. In fact, there are cities where a hydro blackout is sufficient to initiate a string of anti-social actions culminating in large scale looting of private and public property and wanton acts of mindless vandalism.
Judging from recent reports , this is not the case in Japan. We see men and women, stoic, grief stricken people deal with the incredible hardship they are facing with quiet discipline.
In the aftermath of the massive earth-quake and the deadly tsunami in Japan one may ask: Why do some cultures react to disaster by reverting to everyone for himself, but others – especially the Japanese – display altruism even in adversity?
As we learn from news reports, the undesirable layer of human turmoil - looting and tussles for foodstuff or services - that often follows in the wake of disaster, seems noticeably absent in Japan.
Today, millions of people don't have water or power. Security forces have their hands full with rescue operations. They don't have to tie up their resources with hunting down looters and other criminals.
Taking all this into consideration, the Japanese people will prevail as they have in the past when they faced adversity caused by natural disasters. It looks like they have what it takes.