LONDON -- "I believe in understanding people as they see themselves, in a positive light. I try very hard to see in the same way as they. Then everything begins to make sense through an opposite point of view," said Charles Hampden-Turner.

He is a senior research associate at the Judge Institute of Management Studies at Cambridge University, and a fellow of the Cybernetics Society. He speaks rapidly and writes persuasively of "stepping through the mirror," a figurative act that he suggests provides the key to across-the-world understanding. He said: "The fact is that cultures are often mirror images of one another. When we travel to a foreign culture, especially from west to east or east to west, it is like stepping through a looking glass."

His conclusions, which are scholarly with practical applications, result from years of study and experience. From a career in academia, he said, "It occurred to me that I had been working on dilemmas all my life. Dichotomy, duality -- mental health means mediating dilemmas. Both points of view of east and west are legitimate, and are mirror images of each other."