When we move between cultures we are told and expect that cultures will be different. There are even academic areas of study into such things.
What do we mean by cultural differences? Well people look different, speak differently, use the toilet in different ways, shower differently, eat different food and we are told think differently and there are books and books on just this issue alone. We look for the difference of the other and the things that will surprise us or shock us and we are given plenty of information on this in our own language and usually by people of our own culture who are of course trying to make money out of describing this notion to us or who run courses that are trying to make money out of this notion whether short cross cultural business courses or academic ones. So of course people from one culture to another are different. This of course is no different from the past when those of a different culture, tribe or religion were seen as different and inferior and usually then demonized to the point that wiping them out was entirely acceptable. The extreme was probably reached in the “discovery” of the New World – as there were already people living there how could it be discovered unless those living there weren’t really people (add in a bunch of demonization and dehumanizing and slaughter them)? But I digress.
Today things may be slightly different. The tendency to slaughter is somewhat less and the tendency to ridicule, demean, poke gentle fun at to ever so slightly imply our cultural supremacy in everything from conversation through popular media to the industry of academia is significantly raised.
However, what is seen as cultural difference is the superficial such as food, habits, practices, language, fashion etc. We are told they think differently from us and yet we are told we all as individuals think differently or at least should and yet we are so unable to really think critically (as opposed to the notion of critical thinking taught in places where the academic industry has control) that we so often don’t see the contradiction in this or the contradiction in stating that everyone in a different culture thinks differently form any of us. This really is bizarre.
Cultural differences are the superficial while a wider look at how people think and what they want reveals cultural similarities and this is indeed the area which confusionists would prefer to concentrate on, as the superficial and that suggested to us by such as the academic industry and government are really things we should question rather than take as fact, if such a thing as fact exists. In short it suits those who control to have us see the other as different and somewhat inferior even if this is a contradictory and wrong notion. However, with control through media, the academic industry, the religious industry and government the notions however flawed are constantly effective and of course constantly pushed.
It is important that we are aware of this and that we start to not only question but to also look for cultural similarity. similarities are not hard to find. All of our friends and neighbours think differently from us so why wouldn’t we expect those of a foreign culture to also think differently. This is just the human condition. Every now and again we find someone who thinks the same as us, or we agree with, but this is just as likely to happen across culture as within it if the numbers mixed with are equal. We actually usually mix more with those from our own culture than those from another, even if living abroad, and hence are more likely to meet similar views there than outside just by dint of pure number. Language is another factor that needs to be overcome and even those quite fluent in a second language often still misunderstand or misexplain to a first langauge speaker.
However, lets look at a few basic things that people around the world will agree on. People who have kids wants their kids to have a better life. People want to have an easy life and enjoy themselves by doing things they like. People want good relationships and to be happy. Within the monetary society in which all exist people want wealth. People want to be liked or loved. And so the list goes on. These are the basic things people want and need across societies. People have a lot in common across cultures at a basic human level or the basic human condition that has existed for centuries. It is only when we look at the more superficial or the propaganda that is drummed into us by the academic, business, media and governmental organs of control that we obsess on difference.
Lets recognise our host of similarities as people while celebrating the more superficial differences. People have very little or nothing to fear of people across culture once the memes, propaganda and drummed in xenophobia and racism are removed.