We Are All So Different - We Are All The Same

A woman from Ucraine asked why I have so many pictures on my walls, in her home they just have the Madonna; I was asked by am American friend why they don't paint the old buildings in Italy; some Europeans show up to a dinner with wine, cake, as well as perhaps a gift and flowers, while other nationalities show up empty-handed; a Russian guest once drank all the cola in the hotel's refrigerator, thinking he didn't have to pay for it; in China 200 people waited for me (I was the last one) to show up at a dinner before starting to eat; a friend in New Zealand has sent presents when someone has been sick in our home, and other people don't have the time to call their own family, and never do.
We are so different! Of course we have problems in comunicating! Of course it's hard for others to understand what you mean, want, need. It is so easy to be misunderstood!!!
I just posted my new group, and without knowing it, without meaning to, have been misunderstood. And this makes it even more obvious how we are so different. And sometimes, while we are trying to do for others, at the same time we are, without realizing it, offending them.
One can feel ok about their errors by thinking, "We are not the same, how can they see it my way?" But I have always liked to think that we are all the same.

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Comment by Stephanie on January 15, 2009 at 10:03pm
How beautifully said! Thank you for the comments. You too Ruach.
Comment by Lidewy on January 15, 2009 at 6:12pm
Indeed Stephanie. I have learned to respect each community's differences and prepare myself when going abroad. It is not the fact that we're all culturally different, it's the way we respect these differences and see them as exciting conversation topics versus the potential for faux passes. In the same way as I respect by preparing myself for cultural differences, I inherently expect this from others. However, it is there where we seem to run into something much more difficult to prepare for, which is the intolerance and the long toes of people who only accept their cultural c.q. religious habits as the only one, and have not been taught to respect the habits of visitors. Instead of enjoying these differences, people feel offended by them and don't seem to grasp that respect is reciprocal. It is time to not judge people based on their cultural and religious habits/rituals, these are all learned after birth, but respect each other enough to look beyond the cultural/religious traditions. To take a deep breathe before we react. Ultimately we're all a marginally different aspect of One. Accept that we're all slightly different, even if we don't want a particular difference for ourselves.
Comment by Stephanie on January 15, 2009 at 5:53pm
you are a wise man! I am very serious when i talk about cultures, and differences and the need to really understand. And often, we absolutely do not understand what the culture is all about. How could we possibly if we have never met anyone from another culture?
HERE we have that chance. iPeace is a place of many wonderful chances....the best one, being the one in the title itself: Peace.
Comment by myron joshua on January 15, 2009 at 4:08pm
We are having a deep philosophical discussion and you dare SMILE?

Maybe we should get back to your original post about cultures:

Language is wierd..it is what connects us..and can be the source of misunderstanding.

When i chat with Chinese supplers on MSN i kept getting replies ."mmmm"
i think they are saying.."mmmmm, you really thnk so?" or "mmmmmm, i'm not so sure".and i keep trying to explain or convince them..

It turns out the "mmmmm' means "Right!" in Chinese. "I agree, move on"
Comment by Stephanie on January 15, 2009 at 3:18pm
hEY YOU TWO!!!!! stop making me SMILE!
Comment by myron joshua on January 15, 2009 at 1:17pm
Comment by Quaismodo on January 15, 2009 at 11:20am
Comment by myron joshua on January 13, 2009 at 3:08pm
Thinking that we really "understand" the other. that we can "grasp" him is an act of violence, of coopting him into our thoughts.
This is one thing i learned from the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas.

The gap between us the the Other is never entirely closed. It is the infinity beyond the oneness that embraces us all.
This gap is the source of total responsibility..of being held hostage for the other. We stand in his presence, make an approach, but can not really be one with him. In his Face we find the Trace of G-d. It is a commanding face. The other is unique and does not fit into any systems of thought or preconceived notions.

WIth this modesty we can approach the other in more respect and openess. That is an aspect of peace we should remember, an aspect that may be missed in the vision of us engulfed together in some cosmic unity.

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