What are the things that make us similar?

Historically we have been taught to see others in terms of how different they seem to be from us. This has resulted in our seeing others as being contaminates to our own existence.  Of course with that kind of outlook we waged wars against one another and eventually committed genocide.

But, are our differences really differences?  I guess they are, if we see ourselves in purely cultural terms and by that I mean our language and customs.  Granted, language and customs are different in appearance but not in substance. While languages and customs are different in kind, in terms of what they are used for they are the same. Language and custom express our collective human expression. They are our fundamental forms of human expression and allow us to express the same things in different ways.

Our most fundamental human expressions are used to define our various stages of life. These are the ones that occur to us biologically, like birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and death. Our transition from one stage of life to another as well as our transition within each stage itself defines our relationship toward one another and determines our place within society.

While our stages of life are the same, what makes them different are the languages that we use to describe them and the rituals and customs that we use to represent them.  Since we all have a particular language and rituals that define our identity, our means of describing the stages of life are linguistically and culturally different, but the stages of life are the same for all. 

Comments

4 Responses to “What are the things that make us similar?”
  1. Julie Birch says:

    Fundamentally, differences are not bad things. In fact, they can be quite wonderful. It’s when we start believing that ‘different’ is the same as ‘worse’ that problems start arising. Of course some differences in basic self expression can be dangerous to others, physically/socially, but over all, we need to be able to appreciate eachother. It would be interesting to see how peoples’ opinions of others would change if we viewed eachother as pieces of art, not that one would agree with each piece, but at least be able to appreciate and respect it for the individual creation that it is. ‘Different’ people aren’t perfect, but then again, neither are we.

  2. Lori Edukugho says:

    I concur. Historically we have been taught to see others in terms of how different they seem to be from us. Yes, we are different socially, politically, culturally, and as you stated in our human expressions, but I believe we are more similar than not. Of all the things that distinguishes us many would agree we all seek the “American idea”, making us all the more similar. I believe.

  3. Jamie Eustice says:

    I have done a lot of pondering on the facts about racism, prejudice, and grudges between cultures. In reality, to me at least, every nationality and every person no matter the race, language, customs are very similiar. I derive this from a more psychological standpoint where i feel that people as a whole share the same feelings, hopes, dreams, desires, and intentions. I like to believe that “all people are basically good” and although there are some exceptions, the optimistic perspective is more for me. I think if there were more education about how other cultures are, granted we may not see eye to eye, learning about them will provide the ability to accept them. Today we are divided, hardly united and it is sad day to think that the human race cannot come together even though as of now it is the inevitable truth. People are growing more and more distant and more and more angry with one another. If we put our differences aside i think it would be easier to get along. I don’t want to sound peace happy but i think this America that we feel like we belong to could be a much better place with a little more cultural education and understanding.

  4. Michelle Betancourt says:

    In today’s society we are so concerned with this idea of being different or unique when really we all like you mentioned go through the same life stages. Yes, i do believe that our specific cultures and rituals are the things that make these transitions different, but we do not use them in the right way. It is one thing to be proud of who you are and where you came from but its another things to create a divide or an ego over it. Our cultures and rituals should not separate us, sure we all participate and believe in different things, but this should be cherished.

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