You Do It Your Way

 If you see in any given situation only what everybody else can see,                                        you can be said to be so much a representative of your culture                                                       that you are a victim of it.  S. I. Hayakawa

My way of seeing and doing things and your way of seeing and doing things probably aren’t the same way. They didn’t come from the same source/origin. You and I,  and everyone else, have had different growing up experiences. We are unique, just like everyone else. This means that each one of us is different in the way we sees things, do things, and make decisions.

As Hayakawa points out, my way and your way may actually be someone else’s way, a way we adopted; or a way that was indoctrinated by our culture. The word “victim” may be too strong and cause one to ignore the meaning. The meaning is that the way you see and do things may be the effect, consequence, result of your culture. Why is this important? The reason it is important to me is that it raises the question: Did I have a choice when I decided my way? In other words, did I choose my way of believing, seeing and doing?

Our experiences growing up taught us the way we see and do things. If experience is the best teacher, then it would be good to have a lot of differentexperiences. You are a result (or a “’victim”) of your culture if you never experienced anything else. There are probably a lot of people in the world who have never experienced anything except their own culture. Such cultural indoctrination is the cause of much prejudice in the world today. Prejudice is a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or multiple experiences, Dictionary.

The way we do it is the way we learned to do it. It’s important for me, and for you, to know HOW we learned to do it our way. That explains WHY we do it. The way we learned to do may not be the best way to do it now.  And we can learn to do it a different way — a better way. If we want to. If the world is to get better, the way its inhabitants see things and do things need to get better.

For example: Seek to understand the reasons we see things and the way we do things. HOW did I learn my way of seeing and doing? Such personal questions may help me understand WHY I amseeing this way? Why am I doing this? Is there another/better way? What assumptions or indoctrinations are behind my programmed way of seeing? Is my programed view an asset or a liability?  Why? What behaviors does it lead to? Why would someone else see it differently? Why would they agree? Disagree?  Having an “honest” partner to give you feedback about your answers might help.

If we learned the way we see and do it, and if learning is a process, then we should continue to learn.

Cultural indoctrination is the process of inculcating a person with ideas,                       attitudes, cognitive strategies. The process of teaching a person or group                                    to accept a set of beliefs uncritically. Dictionary

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1 Response to I DID IT MY WAY

  1. Marianne says:

    As an “elder” I have more opportunity to look into my past to see why I see things as I do. I need to do the “looking” however. I changed my Republican views –learned from my father–to democratic views when I had the experience of living in a larger community. It helped me understand that we need to see what is good for the larger group, not see it is OK to take what I want no matter the needs of others.
    There are so many views of the world I don’t even know exists, because I have not lived the life, in the environment that others have. How do I know what it is like to grow up in a ghetto, as an immigrant, etc. Having moved to such a different culture–east coast vs. west coast as well as from ranch life to suburban life–has enlightened me to the many different views here than I had back West. I see more often the importance of being clear in my use of words. People here don’t always understand my meaning of something because of the difference in our experiences from West coaster to East coaster.
    Run on sentences and ideas here, but it is a stream of thought.

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