Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Emperor has clothes

My eye doctor is a real Greenwich Village original. Classy older man, in vulgar mass produced times. 

I remember when I was in Haiti, he asked me if Haitians were poor because they spoke Creole.  That it led to a further ghettoization and left them unable to assimilate into world thought and economy. 

I'll refrain from judgement but I will say that there is something to be said to assimilating to the norms and means of the powerful. I've read their books, watched their films, and wear their clothes and I'd be a fool to say it doesn't make a difference in building trust. Getting things done.  I didn't do this consciously.  But if you are ambitious, it permeates you like osmosis.  

It's important to preserve one's culture, sure. But one must first build strength.  Real strength is organization, efficiency and follow through.  Culture helps buffer the robotic effects and helps salve the soul of the pursuit of power, money and glory.

I wish it was different, but it is not.  The challenge is to do it - build strength - and keep your humanity.  Too many people are concerned about culture for culture's sake.  This is an emotional mistake, empty symbolism, that gets us nowhere.

There is of course one notable exception:  The French.  They've made culture a weapon.  They conquer through beauty.  That is what makes them great.  Few others, however powerful they think their culture is, can get away with it.  Plus, the French are far more industrious and efficient than they let on.  The combination makes them forever relevant on the global scene.  Africa's rise also augurs well for their future.         

1 comment:

sp said...

and the French are also perhaps the most racist human beings on the planet who look at others (specifically those of color),as little monkeys.