Intercultural … nonsense

Have you attended an intercultural class?

Were you also presented with a scale of 5 to 8 “basic” cultural traits into which your glaring teacher’s example of interculture puts all of the about 160 nations in the world?

And have you tried to “ride the waves of culture” by putting people into drawers, say, of “synchronicity” vs. “sequentialism” just to feel bad about your little underdeveloped brain not able to exercise more than one action at a time?

Then, let’s discuss the pros and cons for a while.

Mankind has tried to discover the meaning of life for centuries. It started with a man called Jesus who did not worry since the Creator was with him. Somebody put down his story, another one claimed to have found the only valid interpretation of this story and its historical impact is almost clear, at least for citizens of Christian countries.

Mankind looked then trough a telescope and started something called globalization, some swung themselves up to colonialism – a rather feeble try to own things out of reach and not available for possession. It looked through microscopes recently to mark new property areas on something which is thought to be the blueprint of life, called genome patents. But does it equal life?

But who IS HE, or more modern, SHE or IT?

But mankind has never dared to explain a fly, a squirrel, or a dove who it is, of what it’s made and what’s their reason for existence. So, why should he/she/it explain itself to mankind?

During the last months I faced many intra- and intercultural issues and – believe me – no book, no presentation, and no “I-like-to-pat-your-back-and-challenge-your-rusty-localized-mind-that’s-why-I-am-sooOOOOOoo-different” intercultural trainer has ever given an answer WHY mankind adopts or adapts to other cultures. Most of them give you a case and watch you with a smile as if they know. Others explain tactics, do’s and don’ts, but try to hand out a couple of Yen bills with both hands if one hand is already occupied by shopping bags. And what if the Japanese cashier uses only one of her hands?
And wasn’t money a dirty thing in Japan?!?

Try to explain and cope with the culture of a South-Eastern Asian who plays with your patience and crosses any of your personal boundaries but turns into an awkward, denying being, not to say child, who lost its lollipop, if asked to back off for a moment.

Now, maître de culture, it’s your theater – but all the books and articles could not help.

We are human beings entrenched in our mindsets who feel and are educated to think.
Education can elevate you to a new level, may it be knowledge or cultural insights, but it starts with a WHY.
Without it, you lose out – in business, daily life, or even intercultural communications.

For me, it’s always about the other guy. The other guy’s WHY rather than the other guy’s fault. Answering that WHY requires all parties to stay open-minded while refraining from fear and anger.

That’s where the journey begins and (inter)cultures might be just a stopover.


2 Responses to “Intercultural … nonsense”

  1. 1 Grandmaster T July 20, 2010 at 4:53 am

    Well, I think putting Jesus here and raising the meaning of life question is a bit off-topic.
    People were and are always aware of the fact that they differ from each other. The hard lesson is to learn how to deal with it. The unwillingness to adapt or just ignorance is the key for all the issues.

    I agree: Why do always the “guests” have to adapt to different cultures? The hosts can also consider it.

  2. 2 t4roam July 20, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Well, GT. Even the hosts should.
    This intercultural tinkywinky does not help if they don’t even dare or avoid being open.

    Isn’t Jesus just an idea of connectedness?
    An ever-glowing idea for the unity of mankind, without any worries of the new day coming? A universal language spoken by all?
    But underneath the same question is lingering through time: why?
    Give me an answer I can believe.
    Even today’s business is very basic. Just have a look at credit risk management.
    Credit is derived from credo – I believe. So where’s the risk in it?
    Maybe I should have a beer. I am slipping into odd questions.

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