Wednesday, December 25, 2013

DIFFERENCES IN CULTURE

Mekkar's thought about Driving in the good ol' USA. What many Americans call driving is not that in his mind, but merely what he refers to as "playing or play driving". Probably, like most people he especially thinks about this when he is easily frustrated. There are added factors such as the lack of driving ability of the typical driver as well as a slow rate of speed. Due to the normally low speed limits. Don't forget the great number ready to ticket you power-happy officers. Remember, Mekkar is comparing these driving experiences with some of his experiences in other places of the world. Where Mekkar is from there is basically no speed limit away from the towns. Many people there also operate their motor vehicles much faster than it is safe to do so. In other areas nearby there is some posted speed limits but few to no police, so no one to enforce them. Everyone knows about the German autobahn highways. However, road-rage in America is like child's play compared with any daily driving in Moscow, Russia. Dealing with the madhouse bus drivers, who try to run you off the road, in parts of Italy are no picnic either.

Also, Mekkar's people have a very different view of death than many cultures such as the United States. Therefore, the attitude of how death is celebrated, and not mourned is foreign to many and contrary to most conventional wisdom. In many places in the world, family members and friends wear black or dark clothing and express their grieving in an outward manner. It is obvious to all observers what the procession is all about. On the contrary in Mekkar's culture, those close to the deceased are happy for that person and have a big party. It is a pleasant experience except for the "hangover" the next morning. The thinking is that person who died is leaving this life of hardship and pain and going to a better place.

Mekkar's relatives conduct some activities that would shake some beliefs and shock most Westerners in their concepts regarding dying and death. Crippled or maimed individuals are many times sent away from the tribe. There is the thought process of "if they can't pull their weight, there is no use for them". The alternative is they would instead become a "drag" and non-contributors of the local society. Another instance is when older people know they are going to pass from this life. They go out into the frozen tundra to freeze to death. Once again, the thinking is that "if they can't pull their weight ...". Everything is looked at from the viewpoint of how it will affect group survival.

It is all a matter of perspective. These beliefs are based on old nomadic contribution thinking. There is very much a sadness and somberness involved in the process, but it is considered just a part of life.