It’s amazing how different we are, deep down.
I took the picture below at the Highline Heritage Museum. It’s really a densely packed topic, and I love how they have simplified it in a nice graphic display. I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
They prefaced this image by saying that about 10 percent of most icebergs are visible above the surface, and that culture is the same way. There’s a lot of culture that’s hidden beneath the surface. Here are some of the cultural encounters I’ve had.
Body Language. In Turkey, raising your eyebrows means no. Once I mastered that, I was able to fend off many aggressive salesmen. But it never came naturally to me.
Personal Space. When I lived in Mexico, I never quite got used to how “in your face” people preferred to be. I’m sure I came off as rather distant and cold.
Self. I once dated a Maori, and his extended family was continually in his house, for weeks at a time. That would drive me nuts. I need my “me time”. I can’t be myself when I’m surrounded by so many people, but he didn’t feel like himself when he was alone.
Time. I’ve long been fascinated by the Aboriginal Australian sense of time, but try as I might, I can’t grasp it.
Animals. I’ve had many friends from many cultures who are horrified that I allow my dog in my house.
Expectations. A Hindu friend of mine once told me that we Americans expect to be happy, and are constantly disappointed when we aren’t. In other cultures, he said, no one expects to be happy, and they’re therefore pleasantly surprised when they are.
More Expectations. A friend from Spain once told me that we Americans always seem to think everything is solved with an “I’m sorry.” He was really surprised by that.
It’s amazing how different we are, deep down, one from another. The picture below really shines a light on that in a beautiful way. There’s more to individuals than the clothes that they wear and the accent they employ. It makes me really want to get to know people beneath the surface.
This may be a cultural thing, but I truly believe that an attitude of gratitude is what you need to get along. Read my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5
It’s water, but it seems solid.
At work, I spend a great deal of time watching boats float by on Seattle’s Lake Washington Ship Canal. After a while, you start thinking of it as just another road. It’s water, but it seems solid. Slippery, yes, but solid.
Until it doesn’t. It’s a transit system, but people swim in it, and jump in it. People fall off paddle boards with a screech. Dogs leap in after balls. Fish jump out of it, and back in. Raptors dive in and pluck those same fish out. Occasionally a vessel sinks. People drown.
The one time I had the opportunity to take a kayak on it was very unsettling. Suddenly the whole depth thing was very, very, real. That, and if I wasn’t careful, I could actually get wet. What a concept!
It’s hard to remember how deep the water is, because all you deal with, usually, is the surface. (Before you ask, it has an average depth of 32 feet. But I had to look that up.)
You stop thinking about what lies beneath. The truth is, you can never be completely certain what’s down there. We humans do not enjoy uncertainty.
Looks can certainly be deceiving. But that’s mainly because most of us never bother to delve deeper. I think we’d all be much better off if we did.
Like the way my weird mind works? Then you’ll enjoy my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5
The other day I made the mistake of Googling the name of someone I intensely dislike. I wish I hadn’t. She has always been hostile toward me, and extremely territorial. To cope with her I kind of imagine her as an evil Martian with neither heart nor soul. That way her behavior somehow seems understandable and therefore a lot less hurtful.
But this Google search turned her back into a human being in my mind. Her wide open Facebook page showed me that she has friends. Not many, but some. And she enjoys the outdoors just like I do. Another Google hit lead me to believe that she also enjoys international travel, just like I do. In addition, I discovered that she owns her own home, and thanks to Google earth I see that it’s in a quiet, quaint neighborhood, and she takes pride in a well-kept lawn.
We actually have a great deal in common, and I hate knowing this about her because it makes her hostility even more incomprehensible, and it causes me to have regrets. She could be a friend. I sure could use one. Instead, what I get is an angry troll whose presence in my life is something I’m forced to tolerate.
It just goes to show that people have layers. You may think you know someone, but there is almost always much more to them. It’s never a good idea to rely on simply the surface stuff. Take the time to delve deeper. You may just be intrigued.
This is one of my fractals, “Layers”. You can buy it in the form of a greeting card, mug, print, puzzle or business card, along with nearly 600 of my other fractal products, here.