sarasvati: Greyscale picture of Kido Jou, studying at his desk (study)
Although I'm tired, I'm still not asleep, and at this point I don't think I will be until mid-afternoon. An hour's nap ought to sort me out, once I've come back from lunch and from returning a movie. It will make for a long day out in cold temperatures, but even if I could skip lunch, I can't delay on returning the movie.

I came across some issues of National Geographic magazine on a torrent site, which date all the way back to the late 1800s. The majority of what's contained in those magazines will be no longer relevent to modern times, possibly even all of the magazines, but from a historical point of view, they're fascinating. I love to get my hands on very old books describing issues of the day, since then not only do I get to study the events and issues themselves, but also how they were viewed at the time.

That's why I was positively gleeful when I found a Canadian history textbook from the 1860s (or possibly 1880s, I can't remember which) in a used-book-store-slash-antique-shop last year. Learning about what people of the past learned has been a source of fascination to me for years now, in the same way that learning what people in other countries and of other cultures learn. It isn't enough for me to learn about that country or culture, since I'm learning it from the perspective of my own culture, with all the biases intact. I want to see other biases and viewpoints. Learning, for example, that it's not uncommon for young Japanese children to be taught that Japan is the only country in the world with four distinct seasons gave me a nerdy little thrill. That sort of thing gives me a glimpse of their culture from the inside, lets me see a little more how they view themselves and the world around them.

I enjoy trying to step outside my cultural limitations and to see things from a stranger's perspective. I've seen many Americans state that America is the best country in the world because of democracy and capitalism, ignoring, of course, the fact that many other countries have those things too. There seems to be a running theme among Canadians that says that Canadians are better than Americans simply by virtue of not being American.

Cultural biases tell more about the culture in question than most people think.


sarasvati: A white lotus flower floating on water. (Default)

August 2011

 12 3456


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Page Summary

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios