Did you ever visit my Chinese Garden? In a way it's my image of our time and age. Everything seems so transparent and easily accessible today. It seems we are able to grasp other people by checking out their Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etcetera profiles. But the painful truth is we only take a look on their surfaces. Never (better: almost never) too deep! The only thing I see on TV are one-liners and jokes.
Are we patient enough? Am I? Are you? Patient enough to listen, talk and learn to deal with weaknesses, uncertainties and 'I don't know. Let me think about it!'? Of me, you and Others?
A couple of years ago - I can't remember how long ago - I read Ryszard Kapuscinski's book 'The Other'. His masterclass in eight quotes:
- "Deep curiosity about the world is not a common phenomenon either. Most people have little interest in it."
- "For many people the world outside is a source of anxiety, arousing fear of the unexpected, or even the terror of death."
- "All civilisations have a tendency towards narcissism, and the stronger the civilisation, the more clearly this tendency will appear."
- "The myths of many tribes and people include a belief that only we are human, the members of our clan, our society, and the Others - all Others - are subhuman, or not human at all."
- "Human experience shows that at the first moment, as a first reflex a person reacts to an Other with reserve and restraint, mistrust or plain reluctance, or even with hostility."
- "And so the three possibilities I have mentioned have always stood before man whenever he has encountered an Other: he could choose war, he could fence himself in behind a wall, or he could start up a dialogue."
- "Other, let us repeat, are mirror in which I look at myself, and which tells me who I am."
- "That we accept the Other, although he is different, and that this difference, this otherness is rich and valuable, it is a good thing. Yet at the same time this difference does not erase my identification with the Other: 'I am someone Other'."