There is a lot of credence to the quote, “when in Rome, do as the Romans.” this idea is fairly easy to accomplish if you visiting a foreign land as a visitor or an ex-pat. You know your time in the place is limited and you will soon be going back to where you came from, so in some respects, it is like going on that first date with someone where your behavior might tend to be wide-eyed wonderment with experiencing the new sights, sounds, culture, and flavors. The idea of assimilating to a new culture and being lead down a cattle trough to be and act a certain way is far more complicated than I ever imagined. When you do not speak the native language, just compound the issue by a factor of 10.
the only thing you can do is get up and keep running in the hopes that it all will one day make sense.
as I watch the chess pieces being moved around on the board of geopolitics these days, I wonder when the next world war will break out. I am not trying to be funny, but the sway of globalization works great when everyone is in the game making progress. what I don’t think many realize is there is a limit to the resources on the planet and when you come to a place where distribution changes – some folks are not going to be happy in that they can’t get all the shiny objects they want. this will lead to conflicts over “stuff.” you also have a seeming growing disparity with isolationistic thoughts in various sectors of the planet because of difference in religion, ideology, political beliefs where a different form of assimilation happens.
“you can’t tell me what I am to think, believe or do…even though I am moving to another part of the world!” I have seen this in the states and Europe lately. I can relate when I find myself being the nail that is sticking up too much for the local social construct. it is like the double entendre of words, like in the deep south, there was a joke about when a woman says, “why, you poor thang.” to another woman means something quite uncomplimentary. Then again, while I go off tangent, I do understand why writers who grew up in the south tended to be so entertaining. they looked beyond the way of life that said, “if it looks right, it must be ok?” and wrote about the truth behind the illusion of make-up and a generous layer of social cake frosting applied to the psychological, drinking, dysfunction, and family issue everyone has, but few seemed willing to talk about.
I still remember moving to a city and watching everyone huddling in tables and it seemed like the most god-awful boring conversation and social construct about whose lawn looks the prettiest, what church are prominent banking executives going to, or what palette of muted pastel golf wear was hot that year. it was as if, “you can’t talk about race, creed, color, religion, politics, or problems.”
maybe that is why I became friends with a white southern writer that gave up the bottle, a gay black violinist, and a lawyer that used to play “felony or misdemeanor” with our ideas for fun practical jokes in a world that didn’t laugh much. come to think of it, when we cooked a really interesting idea of how to fill the sky with a giant UFO prank, he did ask, “if I get another lawyer, can I work with you guys on this?”
I digress. perhaps it is better I no longer do pranks in the age of people not being able to laugh at themselves.
now imagine that type of a person being put in one of the most conservative areas on the planet. I am not here to make fun of Switzerland, but some poking probably is going to come out as I use the example of taking someone that grew up in a social construct very much like rural Switzerland today. the invaluable time and resources put into the family, raising kids, and a decent quality of life amid a clean and beautiful setting is something to be applauded. mind you, the people in Switzerland have the same problems we have in the states and any developed country, but it sure has a beautiful cake frosting of social cleanliness and drop-dead gorgeous scenery. it also is a very tiny and wealthy country, very wealthy. how wealthy? well, 5 of the top 10 cities for cocaine residue in the water supply on the globe are in Switzerland (probably because most of the world does not test their water to Swiss standards. I would hate to think and see what comes out of the water in some parts of the USA)
but when you take someone that grew up in that model and asked, “why do we…” to pretty much every facet of life, and didn’t get many answers beyond, “cause it has always been done that way.” well? you get a guy that will go peek above, below, left, right, over and under to see, “why?” and try to learn about it.
there will always be barriers to entry in anything. it could be financial, social, they unwritten “class’ system, pollical, religious, etc.….you have a choice in life. you can just go with the flow and I guess go through life with a decent ride and follow along with the rest. no one really will know your true heart and motivations besides yourself and the creator of the universe, but there will never be a shortage of people telling you what your motivations are.
the critic is a universal occupation. it is just that in some places you will be told an honest opinion with a construct to your face, but in most of the planet, it is more like mindless gossip, where it will be said behind your back. what is that Elanor Roosevelt quote?
“great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Elanor Roosevelt
best way to get around the gossip -ignore it. this piece of wisdom is very hard when you are trying to assimilate into something foreign, very different, and the way of life people have been living since they were born. the rules, regulations, customs and construct to normal life in one spot of the world is very different than another part of the world unless you do the super elite life – where it appears everything might very well be the same – everywhere for the selected few.
time is up, and I don’t think I wrote too much of any value. I could have said, “assimilating into another spot on the planet is far more difficult than I imagined. I am not sure if it is because they want me to change into what they are, or I have had a gift to travel and work in so many places and with so many different things that I don’t know if I can simply go fit into a little box and survive, when I realize we can all live a decent and fulfilling life beyond simply trying to get more shiny objects. truth be told, the simpler I make my life, the easier and happier it becomes to work on things that might help change the quality of others’ lives.
I guess that is the question about life. how many want to change? how many want to go somewhere else and grow? how many staying in one spot want anything new or different to come into their space?
somehow, there has to be an easier way to reduce the friction and expanded everyone’s perception to see another.
nice idea or a dream, no? I can safely conclude that while there was an idea when I started typing. I made a typed a big pile of merde to cover it all up. that is the beauty of invention, you don’t really fear to fail – no matter how hard it can hurt – you know that tomorrow is another day, and perhaps this crap will fertilize something good out of the mind?
as long as you keep getting up and trying, learning and growing - it is the only thing I know that will guarantee, “living.”