Failed Attempts at Being You

This post is more than 3 years old.

I keep encountering this quote and keep liking it, so here it is:

"The world in which you were born is just one model of reality.

Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you; they are unique manifestations of the human spirit." --Wade Davis

I'm not sure I have much more to add, beyond some related queries to chew on:

  1. In what ways do I assume that my model of reality is everyone else's model of reality?
  2. When do I hold other people and other cultures to a standard of success that is defined by becoming or being me?
  3. What threatens me about people and cultures that have different goals and hopes than I do?
  4. How can my sense of spirit and life be nurtured by appreciating other (sometimes radically different) manifestations of spirit and life?

4 thoughts on “Failed Attempts at Being You

  1. I think it's worth asking questions from the other side, particularly when you are in an intellectual environment where there is a push towards this general sentiment.

    I might ask: Across the wide divide of our individual experiences, how can I try to understand other people's models of reality?

    Or: If my acceptance of another person's model of reality is not matched in kind, how do I respond constructively to that?

    Or: How can I find a compromise between accepting the reality of other people's models of reality, and disagreeing with the actionable conclusions that may arise from those differences? (Like: I get it that some people think homosexuality is a sin, but that doesn't mean I'm okay with it)

    Or: Does the degree to which I accept other people's models as valid represent an underlying bias? (For instance a sentiment that it's fine that some isolated culture thinks witchcraft is real, but it's not so okay when a more wordly culture feels women should be in a subjugated role)

  2. Or, relating another principle: I believe in individual freedom, but I don't believe in an individual freedom to sell oneself into slavery. And you can refine that down until there are things where I just *barely* think they are or aren't okay. I don't think there's any general rule either, any universal principal that could divide freedom from abuse. I think there is also an intellectual analog to that.

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