"I'd never be a member of any club that would have me as a member"
Those immortal words of the most famous of the Marx philosophers have guided most of my major life decisions. Well, not really, but it could explain my antipathy to things like co-ops and communal living. Or maybe it's I just don't like people?
Whatever the reason I've been more than reluctant to join anything that involves more than one other person. That's probably why I've never had a problem with monogamy and adjusted to married life without a problem. But ever since those early report cards saying I didn't play well with others the story hasn't changed much.
Which makes it all the more surprising that I've joined two groups on the net. All right one of them is mandatory and I don't have to really chat with anyone. But the other is on a strictly volunteer basis. What's fascinating about this group is that they are talking from a completely different cultural perspective than the one I'm familiar with.
Instead of hearing thoughts shaped by the Western Judeo Christian ethos that developed my thinking process, I am privileged to listen, and occasionally comment, to a group composed primarily of people with Asian and Indian heritage.
As it is primarily a literary discussion group, the majority of the time I've never even heard of the book, or series of books under discussion. But since most of the titles talked about deal with lessons on how to live a good life, or other philosophical notions, I'm not totally left out of the loop.
I've long been opposed to the practice of what I call culture dipping. That is, taking an aspect of someone else's belief system and applying it out of context in your own culture. Not only is it usually inappropriate, but it's also insulting to the people whose ideas you are appropriating.
On the other hand, learning another person's perspective is one of the things that allows for the discovery of common ground between cultures. If we continually look on other cultures and beliefs as "different" instead of trying to focus on similarities, we will continue to be a planet of strangers.
When the moments of synchronicity do occur it feels like a ray of sunlight has broken through a cloudbank. All of a sudden something that had made no sense a second before is a concept that you have always espoused and valued. Such a moment occurred during a recent discussion about the difference between needs and wants.