When I was a child, our family moved to a tribe in the jungles of a Pacific island and our first task was to learn the culture. Observe, learn, eat their foods, listen, attend their weddings and funerals, help them build their huts, watch closely to their rituals. My parents knew that before introducing a new idea, they needed to learn and know the culture so they could understand the people.
Ideas and concepts and opinions are less and less tolerated here in America. We are allowing others to group us and to label us in order to divide us. We allow online platforms to shape our thoughts. We ourselves are guilty of not attempting to understand another’s culture before shouting our opinion from our social media account about someone 1,000 miles away.
But we don’t want to change others into ourselves, do we?
We don’t want to all be the same. A robot cannot be a friend. We don’t want to know a label or a group. We want to know individuals: unique, fascinating individuals with perspectives and ideas we would miss if they were just like us.
We Americans have always found ideas and opinions interesting, no matter who they are from, or how wacky they seem. Don’t you think it sounded nuts when the Wright brothers wanted to launch a vehicle in the sky? I am glad there weren’t tech giants to censor them for the dangers they exposed to themselves and others! We do not need to have a fear of information or of the different-than-us. Individuality is what we need more of.
I need you to be you so you can teach me what I could not know by me being me.