Differently Similar

I stumbled across the idea the other night (I’m doubtful that this was my idea) that what has been most peculiar about my travels in country and to the UK is the manner in which 90% of everything is precisely as would naturally seem to be expected (I really tie culture and expectations very closely together in considering what these terms describe)…and yet those differences are naturally magnified.

This leads to a value conflict when the differences are felt most acutely. Anyway the thought is that my experiences of other cultures can be summed up with the words: “differently the same”. Churchill quipped that the Americans and Brits are two peoples divided by a common language. Having lived there for two brief periods (and having been briefly trained as an English language instructor by, you guessed it, English trainers) I see the gap is a bit broader. But the rhythms of life that comprise culture – what an ordinary citizen (if there is such a thing) might expect – are far more subtle until one finds oneself uninitiated.

I wonder if traveling to non-Western cultures is n’t in the end easier because one is more apt to accept the few recognizable ways in which life is very much lived the same way. But then I ‘m dealing with a personality preference. Still, I wonder if expectations do n’t have much to do with how one interprets her experiences of things being “differently the same”.


How do you find this to be demonstrably true or patently false in your experiences or imaginings (which are too a sort of experience)?


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