The other day I got to thinking about some of the ironies of
history. And it occurred to me that in some dream-altered
way that we are still fighting the Crusades.
You know except for the rare expeditions such as the
ones taken by Thutmes III, the ancient Egyptians didn't
get involved much with the cultures of the Levant and
others in the Middle East. In fact it seems that the
Egyptians thought those peoples were crazy.
No comment on that. But it seems to me that a good
general rule of thumb might be the one I have always
held to with regard to the people in the apartment
buildings I have lived in: Don't get involved with
your neighbors. Because it almost always turn out
Difficult to do these days, though. It is no longer
just a matter of dealing with the countries whose
border lies next to yours. Nations today are connected
by a huge web, including instantaneous electronic
sources. And while that can often be good and serve
to broaden understanding, it can often intensify the
clash between certain cultures.
CNN provides news to countries the world over. And
yet along with that it also provides the product
commercials that go along with it. Across the globe,
a commercial that shows women laying in bikinis out
by a pool might very well convince some that we in
the West are what they think we are — a decadent
culture that uses women. Meanwhile, we here see videos
of women wearing the burka, and we become upset at
what we also feel as an abuse of women. And this is
just one small example of the cultural differences
that are involved.
One thing is for sure, the process of acculturation
won't suddenly stop, no matter which direction the
flow happens to be moving at the time. Mass commun-
ications has let the genie out of the bottle and it
is difficult if not impossible to put it back in.
Information flows across the globe. It flows across
borders and across cultures. As R.E.M. wrote many
years ago — "The atmosphere's no country at all."