How do you understand difference?

Different people and different cultures have different reactions to differences. Some acknowledge, others deride, a few try to understand. Differences more often than not, form a popular premise of low humour – remember men, women, religion, blonde stereotypes? – and in this manner some find differences funny, though the mockery in their mimicry is hard to miss.


Differences of any kind can always be understood by relatives. A person, like you and me, usually has certain norms for different areas of their lives and whenever, you or me, come across something new, something different, we see how it contrasts to our existing set-up and then we inadvertently compare, and we place the differences along a relative scale.

But contrasting and comparing is one way of understanding differences. Are there more? How do you understand the different things that you come across – norms, cultures, values?

Author: pecsbowen


5 thoughts on “How do you understand difference?”

  1. By walking in their shoes. Literally. Don’t compare and contrast, and mark on a scale, please. Not in the beginning. Because it is so easy to mistake a different cultural style as being inferior or superior in certain ways.

    Think of it more like apples and oranges. Experience the different style after removing all your presumptions and theories (okay, caveat – unless there is the possibility of permanent physical damage, don’t partake in cannibalism for example). Go to a football game if you’re in Europe even if you know nothing of football. Watch trashy movies. (Yes, seriously) Partake in silly festival celebrations. But don’t take them as seriously as the ‘natives’ might. More often than not, there is a unique, innocent kind of good to be had even in theoretically bad things; which you might not get in theoretically good things. And with maturity, we might be able to put these things on a scale and compare and contrast, if we’re lucky.


  2. I saw a girl taking a selfie striking a standard pose. I was reminded of this post. My first reaction was – ‘one of the selfie groupies’ My next reaction was – ‘put yourself in her shoes. If you were happy with your work, would you take a selfie ? It is conceivable that it would actually be congruous then.’ And then the pressure differential eased a la


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