As we near the end of this challenge and I scramble to find an appropriate “Z” topic, I thought I’d do a pre-wrap up by summarizing one of the more important life lessons I’ve learned studying anthropology and it’s one I still struggle with.
It’s very easy, especially when you’re often a part of the majority, to think that your way of doing/thinking is the “right” way. It’s hard to find a simple balance between how you see the world and how others do.
Anthropology is the study of humans. It is all about understanding the human experience across a variety of settings, cultures, and histories. It can be hard to learn about traditions that are foreign or even offensive to you and how you were raised but also view them with respect.
One of the popular examples is arranged marriage, a practice still fairly common in India (and a few other places). To those from societies where arranged marriage is not practiced, it can seem strange or even immoral but, where it is practiced, it is very normal–if not always welcome.
Arranged marriage is a fairly benign example but the main point is that, you almost have to respect others because you can’t force anyone to change–especially a large society. Whether it’s arranged marriage, facial scarring as a ritual of adulthood, or other cultural tradition, change is almost always only effective if it comes from within. You certainly will have a hard time convincing someone to change if you don’t even understand their reasoning!
You do you, but respect who others do it, too.
One more post! See you tomorrow!