An Addendum

30 07 2008

So July hasn’t really been my month for blogging.  Please accept my most profuse apologies.  But now I have come across something worth writing about and a sliver of time in which to do it.  After spending a weekend cavorting with my good pal Randal in and around San Francisco I felt the need to append a little something to one of my earlier posts.

One of my earliest posts was about how people often think of themselves as different from people in other regions when they aren’t really as different as they claim to be to be – at least not in the way they think.  Well, my good friend Randy, who has also lived in and explored several different regions of this continent, pointed out that I may be overestimating the degree to which our fellow North Americans are the same as one another.  And I agree.  I think my original point still holds, but that I also need to draw attention to the often vast differences among some of these people who each think that they have the most unpredictable weather or the worst drivers in this hemisphere.  We talked about the South and its unique culture.  We talked about Florida and how while it is in the south, it is not the South.  And about how Texas is not quite the South.  We talked about Northern California versus Southern California.  And about other places and cities.  And I think the conclusion to be reached from considering these sort of cultural and regional differences is that… people are different and the same! (dum dum dum!)  I think this may be Nobel Prize material.  

But seriously, while this seems very common sense, some people (like myself) get irritated when people fail to recognize what they share in common with others and other people get offended when people fail to recognize the ways in which they are different from others.  So some people experience false uniqueness and some people experience false consensus and other people react to it.  I suppose the point I want to make (although at this point it may be only loosely connected to what I’ve written here) is that it’s important to see both sides of the coin, so to speak.  With respect to cultural and conspecific similarities and differences we must be able to see and understand them both in order to achieve an harmonious society.  I feel that the inability to do so contributes to much prejudice and bigotry and to much inadvertent and avoidable discrimination.  And on the other hand, an ability to see and appreciate our true differences and similarities will create more patient, happier people.  I encourage everyone to explore the world we live in and experience the things that are different from you and the things that are the same as you.

I am fairly certain that I haven’t said anything that hasn’t been said before a million times, I simply feel that it is important for me to demonstrate that I am at least trying to see both sides of the proverbial coin, especially concerning issues as important to me as the unity of the human race.

On a lighter note, over the weekend I was also reminded of something that many people worldwide have in common: tourist traps.  At the Fisherman’s Wharf area in San Francisco the visitor is treated to a variety of shops and restaurants and quaint performers, the same shops and restaurants and performers that I have encountered at nearly every tourist destination I’ve been to in North America.  There’s almost always some dude playing the pan flute and somebody hawking little beaded or braided “authentic” trinkets from some remote mountain village.  The only difference is the name of the city stitched into the indigenous jewelry.  You probably know what I’m talking about.  I think it’s funny.




3 responses

30 07 2008

what on earth is “conviviality “?

30 07 2008

It is friendliness or agreeableness. It may not mean exactly what I intended it to mean in the context. But I was trying to exercise my vocabulary a little bit.

30 07 2008

I changed it to “unity”. I think that is more what I meant to say. I think I overstepped my literary expertise there.

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