Culture means many different things to many different people. It is a word with many connotations, and the many connotations are constantly expanding and evolving. It is the sum total of what we are. When we look through carefully enough, a culture reveals its history and elements. Many of our enlightened ancestors must have been able to see through the culture of a person, an organism, an event, and even an object. Siddhartha by the river and innumerable and unforgettable personalities in Korean history come to mind.
Culture is a wonderful thing. It is what we are. It is what I am. The only thing is there are as many I and we as there're human beings. The rub comes because we have to live together; we have to have a relationship with each other. The rub is expected and unavoidable. Avoiding it is not an option.
The many cultures in the world make our life more interesting, full, and rich. Monolithic culture, mind, attitude, and way of thinking may have its own advantages, but, in the long run, it invariably becomes suffocating, boring, unproductive, and enervating.
In the globalized 21st century, coming up with a way to thrive in the many different cultures is arguably the most important issue of our time. As long as we can live together in harmony and cooperation, we can solve whatever problems coming our way. The problems could be climate change, energy, jobs, food, water, education, and etc. Come they may, we can handle them as long as we are together.
The rub starts with I. All of us start with not comfortable in our own skin. In other words, we all start with rough edges and angsts. Once we mix this individual precarious conditions with family, community, regional, national, ethnic, religious, and racial variability, the possible varieties of cultural identity/not comfortable in my own skin are limitless, almost. The bottom line is that we have to navigate though this endless adventures in the relationships.
The wiser we are or more enlightened we are the relationship could be more harmonious and peaceful. The first step toward it is recognizing and acknowledging that all of us have our own distinct culture.