Don't you just love blanket statements? Haha!
But, in this case I believe there is a lot of truth in this one.
You learn a lot about yourself when you move to a place that speaks a different language, has different ways of doing things, and where the mentality is completely different. When YOU are the only one who is "out of place" you gain a completely different perspective about how you were raised. It is the healthiest thing a human being can do. Yet, so few do it.
Now, I moved to Europe from the USA. On the surface, that isn't SO different. But, believe me there are a lot of differences. What I found is that my "natural" mentality is a lot more European than it is American so I guess it wasn't as harsh a difference than if I had moved to Istanbul, Jerusalem, Nairobi, or Tokyo.
There are really two kinds of expats. One is, you complain constantly that things aren't like they are back home, and the second one is you find it fascinating how the new culture is organized. One of the most disturbing things on earth from my perspective is the famous "Ugly American". Loud, complaining about this and that, making fun of everything." You see it quite often in tourist centers of the world as well as in airports, planes, etc. They stick out like a sore thumb and make America look ridiculous. But, of course everyone sees them and the Americans that act like normal human beings aren't noticed as much so folks think that "all" Americans are big, fat, and stupid, and there is some truth to it. It is embarrassing to witness.
But, the point of it all is that everyone feels comfortable in their own culture. This is why politics is so screwed up. Most politicians have never left their home culture. They have been exposed to one reality and as they get older their views narrow. Certainly the majority of American politicians can't speak a foreign language, nor would they ever think of the necessity of it. Everyone has to speak English because they are too stupid to learn Spanish or any other language for that matter.
Now I speak German. Why? Because I lived and worked in Germany, in German for almost 30 years. Would I have ever mastered another language had I not lived there? Of course not. Why? Because I'm lazy and don't need to. But am I glad I did? Absolutely.
Today I can't fathom having lived the life I lived. What kind of person would I be if I hadn't had to question the principles that I grew up being hewn into me either purposefully or simply through osmosis? I would have probably thought very strongly that ...
- My way is the only way
- My country is the only greatest country on earth
- My religion is the only true religion and everyone else is going to hell
- Why doesn't everyone just live like we do?
After having lived 60 years now I guess even I see things about the world today, and especially America, that are becoming obvious to me. Was it always that way and I just didn't realize it then, or am I just slow on the uptake? Probably the latter.
Principle 1: Truth is Awkward
In recent years several major causes have been placed on the table.
- Black Lives Matter
- LGBQTLM... etc. Whatever all those stand for, I call it "Anything But Straight"
- Trumpism and the far right takeover of the Republican Party cloaked in Hyper-Patriotism, fanaticism and White Supremacy.
All of these movements have one thing in common. The need for "their" truth to be heard.
When I say "their" truth, I don't mean it to sound like what they are saying isn't true, because it is. It just isn't true to everyone and as I have said before in this article, when you live in the same culture for a long period of time, you think that the way you think is the only way to think.
When you think that your truth is being attacked you rally against it to protect your truth.
Here is the thing. If you lived in a foreign culture, you would be all alone. You wouldn't have other people with your issues to unite with. You probably wouldn't even think of all of this stuff because you would be too busy just trying to adjust to the new culture.
Life is a lot about environment. Where you live. Who you associate with. What beliefs you have been taught. When you spend your life living in the same environment then you automatically become rigid in your mind.
All I have to say is...GET THE HELL O U T!
Change your environment and see who you really are. All of the crisis in the world is caused because people think that their way is the only way and it just isn't true. We aren't monkeys who have to live with monkeys to be happy. We can adapt. We can change. We can grow. We can expand.
For the sake of heaven, can humans just stop being mean to one another? Does the human race really need to kill each other? Do we really need to own guns whose only purpose is to kill other humans? Do we really need to spend trillions on Armed forces? Why do nations feel the need to dominate the world?
After literally thousands of years of development, humans haven't changed in their minds AT ALL. We are still going around beating on each other with clubs. Religions haven't helped that at all either.
Why? It is because everyone lives in their own insane environment their whole lives believing that this insanity is the right and only way to live.
Obviously, 2020 was one of the worst years in history. The Pandemic was one thing, the lying that Trump and the entire culture of conspiracy theories, and the Presidential election of 2020 added to the confusion, the anger, the killing of black people by police officers, the irrationality, and ultimately to morons supported by a President who authorized the attack on the freaking Capitol of Democracy all made for one of the most toxic environments in US history.
To say it was and still is a nightmare is an understatement. People seem to love it. The media is having a field day. People are more divided now than since the Civil War. I'm not sure America will endure this insanity.
So, imagine if everyone had to live amidst the very culture that they are most foreign to? Bravado would be out the door. Humility would be gained, and understanding would be learned. Possibly, even wisdom.
Everyone wants others to join their agenda. How about you joining the others for a while? That would stretch your mind a bit. I know it would mine.
I've gotta say, I wouldn't last 10 minutes at a MAGA event. I basically am living in the environment of Trumpism here in Kentucky, so it is like a foreign country to me. Never before in American history have people waved the flag of a Name. When the name becomes a cause, then you are one step away from a dictatorship.
Well, I guess I've said too much. I guess I have always questioned everything. Living an entire life in the same place seems really confining to me. I don't think I was ever cut out to do it. I guess I'll never truly have a place to call "home". The same trot all of the time is maddening to me. It makes me feel like a loser and a failure.
Gotta get over the wall!