Journal entries
Le Bon Journal

Reaction from reader:
When talking about different cultures, you are stepping into the realm of linguistcs and anthropology. Westerners' shrugging off often puzzles poorly educated non-Westerners. Wording in a speech can offend someone unknowingly. Now that you are in a Western country, the differences in culture and its people's body language and culture may not be very different from where you lived before.

Bon Journal

The world according to you

When I was a kid, I naively believed that the world was built for me. Since I couldn't feel what other people felt, it made sense to conclude that I was the centre of the universe. I thought there could only two possibilities: either the world existed before I did or it was built for me.

It took awhile before I realised that I was just another one in a billion or a trillion, nothing extraordinary, but rather average and insignificant.

That realisation did not stop me from viewing the world through my own lenses however. I believed in both mirroring and empathy. Without knowing how other people perceived their worlds, it's easy to assume that they are just like you. If I liked someone, I assumed the feeling was mutual. In fact, I thought my feelings could be detected and empathised at all times by all people.

After living in different cultures, I learned that people looked at the same situation very differently. Just because people nod at what you say doesn't mean that they agree with you. [They might nod to mean that they hear you. Nodding could mean that they want you to continue talking. They might nod simply to contribute to your dialogue with no intention of agreeing or disagreeing whatsoever.]

Everyone is different. I cannot assume others perceive and react to everything the way I do. It is wrong to judge people by my own standards. It is dangerous to assume.

Admittedly, this online journal is written from my perspective, which can bias towards what I find interesting and worth writing about. If readers misinterpret what I write, they are free to contact me for clarification. If they disagree with what I write, they are free to correct me. The point of keeping an online journal is to give myself a platform for self-expression, a freedom to say what I want. But I never said that I was right, and certainly not all the time.

And for the reader who thinks I've touched a certain nerve, ask yourself this, "Are you reading this from your own perspective? Do you think the world revolves around you?" It is human to think you are the centre of your universe. After all, how can you know what you don't know?

22 May 2004 Saturday

Related entries & links:
Modern day soliquy
NLP suppositions
Without judgment
Translation from Chinese
The ethnocentric being
The word "ethnocentric" describes the condition of viewing and judging (often in negative terms) other cultures and societies according to the (usually taken-for-granted) assumptions of one’s own society. Ethnocentricity is the cause of many misunderstandings and biases today.
The German word for world-view, Weltanschauung. is defined as a general outlook on human life and its place in the greater order of the universe. It's the overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world, and it refers to a collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual or a group. Put simply, people have different world views.
"Every person lives in their own unique model of the world" is one of several neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) suppositions.
Like this entry?
Your comments to editor:
Your e-mail address:
Tell your friends about this Bon Journal entry:
Your name:
Your e-mail address:
Your friend(s): Be sure this field is filled and correct!
 (please separate additional addresses with commas)
Your message:

Anne Ku at Ilp in May 2001
Anne Ku

writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page.
Support the Bon Journal by keeping alive and free. Find out about Sponsorship.