Tuesday, January 6, 2009

please define "Different"

Over and over I encounter things that stretch my comfort level and often leave me shaking my head and wondering...Why?! Generally I react to these situations by trying to convince myself of the ancient adage "It's not wrong, it's just different. " But who defines "different" and who defines "wrong."Eating scorpions may seem mundane to some people and ludicrous to others (this was my dinner a few nights ago!)

Feeding koi fish from a bottle is creepy, or maybe its creative capitalism at its finest.

Children waddling around with gaping split pants may seem inappropriate, but its simply more affordable and convenient. Women hawking missiles of phlegm just in front of me inside a mall is not something I find very ladylike...but really who am I to judge? From toilettes to table manners, it's a given that things are different around the world. These differences add vibrancy, color and a little bit of exciting crazy to life. I usually just smile as I look around and notice the differences in daily habits that are so unusual and, dare I say, foreign to me. However experiencing these small cultural quirks does start me thinking about the larger things in life. When does this saying fail? When do things cross the line of cultural diversity and stumble into the arena of "wrong"? Last year I remember reading an article about an ancient remnant of the British Empire that had long been left to its own devices. This isolated island had created its own unique and, to the outside world, disturbing culture. After a couple hundred years of these troubling sexual habits, Britain finally caught wind of these practices and decided to put an end to Pitcairn island's "indecency and crimes." Although I am not in any way advocating that the sexual immorality and misconduct that occured on this island are permissible, it does make me wonder about that foggy grey line between "wrong and different." These people were isolated from British society and had created thier own ethos. They were for all intents and purposes an indigenous people group, who after hundreds of years were held accountable to British law. I find myself at a crossroads. I think the practices on this island were and are wrong- a solid definable line of morality must universally exist. But at the same time, I wrestle with thinking about the many cultures all over the world whose cultural pracitices I do not understand or disagree with. Is my idea of morality universally applicable? Or are these 'differences' merely areas currently outside of my comfort zone that I will one day understand with a new perspective...

and so it begins...

A person can only resist for so long; eventually we all buckle under coercion. I have finally succumbed to the pressure of my blog-happy roommates and decided to give this a try. My hope is simply to share the new revelations and perspectives that I stumble across as my adventures in new lands unfold. If you fancy to come along for the ride, please feel free to share your own insights and ideas. The more the merrier- variety is, after all, the spice of life!!