My Musings: Culture Shock Through A Flat Screen



The above video is part of the 'Human Planet' BBC series. I've just finished watching the first two episodes and they've stormed a sea of thoughts inside my head.

I'm a European intoxicated with Hollywoodian movies and for the last two hours I've been watching on my 37" flat screen these amazing people who struggle for survival in the most unexpected places and practicing the most dangerous and exhausting tasks to replenish their community food and water supply. It's difficult to grasp the essence of their delicate existence from a comfy sofa.

'Human Planet' BBC series

I couldn't stop asking myself why on Earth don't they just leave the deserts and their centuries old traditions to live a better life in our 21st century civilization? What can possibly keep them stranded there, walking for miles in search for a well, stilt fishing or fighting epic battles with dangerous sharks?

In a world where traveling is easier than ever, how am I ever supposed to fully understand their symbiotic attachment with the piece of land or sea that keeps them alive; their almost organic connection with the bucket of sand they call home? I left the parental nest when barely nineteen. For me 'home' changed its meaning a few times in the past years. But for these people, 'home' is a beacon they would follow blind folded, as 'home' for them seems to be part of their instinct of survival.

Yet we all play, and sing, and laugh, and love, and hurt and die. We are all so equal in our nature that it's even hard to see. Like Jorge Luis Borges said, 'no one is anyone, one single immortal man is all men'. There's only an infinite diversity joining in infinite combinations...

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8 comments

  1. Interesting courtship festival and great video! Interesting comment about home, like you I left when I finished school and lived all over the world, but even in my small home town, there are people that would never leave, not even if it meant moving 2 hours away for a better job. I guess "home" has a different meaning for everyone.

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  2. I've just remembered Henry Woodhouse, Emma's father from Jane Austen's novel with the same name. He would have never traveled nor understood why people would do such a dreadful thing. But than he had everything he needed. It's easy to stick around your palace like house without stretching your luck too far. He was a funny character in his own way...

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  3. Great Post! I guess my question is while we may not understand it, who determines what's better for someone else? I think what makes traveling so special is that we get to see other cultures up close and personal. I believe we can respect their mores and values without imposing our own Western philosophy upon them.

    The irony would be if they felt sorry for US for having to put up with pollution, high crime rates, noise, dense populations, being a slave to the almighty dollar (euro, pound, etc.)! Personally, I would be bored silly if everyone looks and acts the same. Diversity is what makes the experience unique and unforgettable. Viva la difference!

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  4. I don't think there's right or wrong when we talk about cultures. Each culture is a world in itself with its own rules that one either follows or is outcast. Just to go to the extremes, I was thinking about the human sacrifices some cultures used to practice. They strongly believed in the benefits they would gather from that. From here we can extrapolate to religion and further, but my point is that this kind of truth is bound to a certain culture that exists in a certain time and space frame. No one is entitled to decide what's better for someone else.

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  5. Love these musings. It's the difference between a tourist and a world researcher.

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  6. Thanks for posting this video, however I have to second what Renee said- who determines what is best? One of the beautiful aspects of travel is that *hopefully* it makes us all think differently about our own lives and backgrounds.

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  7. Wow! It's really a shock...can't believe that somewhere on Earth there are people living in tribes with such eccentric traditions...Poor guy...1 more year to wait for a lover... and is not surely that he'll get one...

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