Soo, Desunee!

CULTURE

CULTURE (Photo credit: @yakobusan Jakob Montrasio 孟亚柯)

The world is a very interesting place.  Many billions of people speak nearly 7000 languages and almost 40,000 dialects.  Cultures range from very strict rules to almost no rules.  Sometimes, people who live in adjacent towns have such differences that they can’t understand or coexist with each other.  And yet, for all our many differences, we are all the same.

I love watching foreign TV programs and movies.  They teach me more about a country than any sociology books.  What I discover is that the same things make for drama in almost any place.  There is usually a strong family tradition, with its many obligations and pitfalls for breaking protocol.  There is the love triangle, or rectangle, or however many angles.  There are the inevitable struggles to overcome shyness or cultural barriers of friendship barriers and finally be able to express ones true feelings.  There is always intrigue, and there is always the resultant confusion and hurt feelings.

In cases of professional dealings, the strains of human nature also play out predictably.  Competition leads to pride, jealousy, wanting to achieve the end no matter what the means, soul searching about putting honesty ahead of money or personal advancement.  In the end, the virtues usually win out over the vices, or at least the vices result in being brought down–karma, if you will.

Also, humor plays big in most cultures.  It seems people of all cultures love to laugh at themselves and their culture.  I suppose that pointing out the inherent stupidities of how we interact makes us all feel a little less singles out for oppression when we are personally assailed by such inanities.  It certainly is documented that laughter helps relieve stress and makes us healthier.  Thank God we all seem to have this sense of humor built in.

It’s also amazing how the sense of morality is generally the same in every culture.  There are always subtle differences, but most people have the same ideas of right and wrong.  And it’s interesting that the same actions in different cultures usually result in the same consequences.

Human nature around the world really proves the basic reality that we are really all the same species.  There is only one race–the human race.  Regardless of creed, location, language or color, we all have the same basic human traits and emotions.

I find it a distinct blessing to live in modern times.  When I was a young boy, I used to hear about people from China and Japan and “exotic” places and wonder what it was like to be them.  I remember how fascinated I was to meet my first man from Japan in grade school.  I remember watching the war coverage of Vietnam and the Cold War talks, of hearing stories from missionaries in Africa and Asia, and dreaming about travels to these exotic lands.  But, back then, this really was a dream for the average person.

Now, in the world of global economy and digital translation abilities, what once seemed so exotic to me has become more familiar than what I see on American TV.  As many countries have come into the modern market and caught up to western technology, we of the world are not so much strangers and mysteries anymore.

As I said, part of me is overjoyed that I can jump on Skype and speak to friends on another continent as if they were my next-door neighbors.  And it’s wonderful to find that they spend their days occupied with the same thoughts that I have.  But there is also a little sadness and apprehension.  Part of what makes the world so intriguing is the variety.   Even as we grow closer and become a world family, I hope we never lose the local color.  What makes any family interesting is wacky uncle Joe and eccentric Aunt Flo.  The same goes for meeting our world family.  Variety is the spice of life.

About these ads

Leave a comment

October 22, 2012 · 2:06 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s