toronto, new york, paris, prague, somewhere else

On the far side of planet Earth there is Somewhere Else.

It’s not Toronto. It’s not New York. It’s not Paris. It’s not even Prague. It’s Somewhere Else.

We’ve all heard stories about this place. We all know how primitive they are compared to us. Instead of burying their dead, they hang the dead bodies up in the trees. All the children of Somewhere Else sleep on one side of the village and all the adults sleep on another side. When the sun is out they won’t leave their homes: they sleep by day and live by night. Their language is far less structured and far less advanced than ours.

They’re not like us in Toronto, New York, Paris or Prague. They are distinctively Somewhere Else.

They send their children deep into the forest at a young age to learn how to survive and some of the children don’t make it back alive. Any conflict is resolved by the Elders, which consist of four individuals: two men and two women – they’re election is determined by flipping stones.

We’ll never visit them and we’ll never find them.

MTV won’t send a camera crew, they don’t belong to a social network and they don’t have twitter updates.

The closest you’ll ever get to Somewhere Else is by reading the few pages in your Intro To Anthropology book.

But from the little you know about them, you’ll draw some big opinions.

Based solely on the fact that they are Somewhere Else, you’ll immediately conclude that they are less reasonable and more primitive: you are the enlightened and they are benighted! We are economically, technologically and scientifically superior. We are more advanced in every way. We are more educated in every way. We have answers and they have questions. We can analyze and predict and they sleep in the dirt. We can look into the universe and they don’t even know what Google is.

They swing from their very low branch and can only view the few trees that around them: their perspective is so small compared to ours.

Hundreds of years ago we also sat on a similar branch at a very low level. But like the monkey, we got our hands on the saw, we cut off the branch we were sitting on. Wehit the ground hard and decided it would be wiser to climb all the way to the top of the tree.

So we left the simple surrounding of the forest and climbed higher and higher. And now, here we are, sitting at the top of the tree, overlooking the entire forest!

We see everything and look down on everyone. But because we sit so high, all we have is the objective! We can see everything except for what is directly in front of us. We have climbed so high and see only big ideas but we no longer care about what is directly in front of us.

We have the entire forest in our sight, but we can’t see anything in front of us.

We cut off the branch we were sitting on.

We spend our time comparing and critiquing other cultures, but we don’t have one of our own. We don’t have anything personal, unique or distinctive. Somewhere Else may have simple ideas and simple minds, but they have a culture and it is theirs.

If our civilization ever gets down from the top of the tree we’ll begin to form a culture. And through the lens of that culture we’ll begin to see that 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries were filled with discoveries which were overlooked and not truly appreciated.

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Categories: culture, Existential Ideas, story


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