But ultimately, we each have our own way of seeing the world, and it often comes in the way of being able to relate to how others are perceiving the world. In the following paragraphs I'd like to write about two such experiences I've had recently. I'll start off with a wonderful quote: "The truth is, we can only see the world through our own window. And the nature of our window depends on our culture, gender, age, background, experiences, beliefs, judgments, IQ, EQ, and everything else that goes into making us who we are." Unfortunately, I don't know who said this, I found it somewhere, copied it in haste and forgot to write down the author.
|Triple A to the rescue!|
Story #1: Never seen snow before.
Story #2 - Hitler was not that bad of a guyIn May 2012 I was visiting Romania with my travel buddy, Anne. (By the way, I still haven't written a blog post about that chapter of our trip.) We experienced bad weather for the most part, with heavy rain every day. On one of these rainy days we had a less than fortunate cab experiences. Thankfully, Anne doesn't speak Romanian and didn't understand our cab driver's insane ranting. It all started from a heavy traffic moment and how other cars refused to let him merge into a turning lane. He started saying how Romanians should be ruled by an extreme right-winged government, the only solutions to bringing order back in this post-communist chaos. He proudly announced that he hails from a family of Iron Guard members, a political party from before WW2, with strong fascist and antisemitic values. He then went on ranting about how Hitler didn't kill as many people in WW2 as Stalin did, how overall he wasn't a bad guy, how Jews are bad people, how old people and children with mental or incurable diseases should be executed, etc.
I started feeling sick to my stomach, and my face turned red. I was glad Anne couldn't understand any of this, else I would've collapsed with embarrassment. Imagine the irony: unknowingly having a Jewish passenger in your cab and ranting antisemitic propaganda in a language your passenger can't understand. I wanted to ask him to pull over and let us out, but it was pouring rain and cabs difficult to find. I endured his rant until our destination and felt complete lack of faith in mankind. After all that has happened in this world, after all the suffering and pain, I didn't think people can still hold such beliefs. I guess I was wrong.
After having these experiences, I think that more people in this world need to travel, go to remote places, place themselves in areas outside of their comfort level, interact with the very same cultures, religions and civilizations that they most fear or are biased about. Open-mindedness is not easy to achieve and should never be taken for granted. It comes with freedom of movement and exposure to other perspectives. It is a value I am learning to appreciate more and more each day.