Playticity
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Playticity

Ep11: Finding Real Connection and Bridging the Cultural Gap w/Kizzann Sammy

This is a reflection on Playticity Podcast Episode 11: Finding Real Connection and Bridging the Cultural Gap w/Kizzann Sammy. Find the episode wherever you get your podcasts. It is also available on www.playticity.com/podcast

One of the things that struck me about Kizzann in this interview is how she, from a young age, was extremely outwardly focused. In my experience, the majority of young people have a very inward, self-focus, and need to develop empathy and an other-focused way of being in the world overtime. However for Kizzann, she was thrust into a supervisory role with Red Cross from a young age, and this would serve as a foundation for her future goals and endeavors.

Perhaps the self-focused way of approaching the world is a strictly Western phenomena. I remember when I lived in Toronto, my landlord told me stories about her experience in the Philippines. She told me about the collectivist way that they see the world, and how different it is from the individualistic way that we see it in here. People from the Philippines would almost never be alone, and it would be an extremely uncomfortable experience if they were.

For myself, I am currently looking for a one bedroom apartment downtown for the strict purpose of being alone, so I can have full freedom to be the person I want to be without any kind of external pressures or expectations. Contrary to many in the Phillipines, I am quite comfortable being alone. In fact, being around others for too long drains me.

Kizzann expressed to me that by not exposing ourselves to different cultures, you will come to think that the way your particular culture operates is just a norm of human nature. But seeing another culture shows you that there are actually multiple ways of being in the world.

The immediate idea that pops out to me here is the extreme adaptability of human beings. We are able to function in almost any cultural environment given adequate time. And the way that our culture operates naturally leads to different outcomes overtime. An individualistic culture means authenticity is valued. If nobody cared about authenticity then it would be quite easy to go with the flow and align yourself with the views of a group. A desire to stand out would not matter. Individualism provides everyone an opportunity to have their own voice, and the chance to create their own success. But it can also breed narcissism, loneliness, and manipulative behavior.

Collectivists cultures are able to more or less mitigate these downsides, but the freedom that individualism provides is also quashed.

I don’t think there is any one correct answer for how culture should be constructed. The best we can do is to explore cultures different from our own, build greater empathy and understanding for them, and become a little less rigid in our own views as a result. But to come to a notion that we will ever reach some kind of perfect cultural makeup or utopia of eternal happiness is imaginary.

And to believe that it is possible actually requires you to impose your definition of happiness on everybody else. As discussed in the podcast, its impossible for everyone to be happy all of the time, because everyone has, and always will have, a different definition of what happiness is for them.

Everything is always in flux, on a societal, individual, physical, metaphysical, and cosmic level, and to try to put our finger on one right answer for ourselves, let alone society, leads to dogmatism, rigidity, dictatorships, and closes off any possibility for learning, growth, and change (which appears to be the only constant there is).

I mentioned the Philosophize This podcast and the episode on Karl Popper, a philosopher during the time of World War II. The idea he proposed was to take a scientific approach to how we make progress as a society. We may not be able to agree on the same definition of happiness, but we all can likely agree on what constitutes suffering. Poverty, disease, physical and mental pain, a lack of basic human needs, severe inequality, the list goes on. I think we can basically all agree that these things suck, and that getting rid of them would be advantageous.

Even though we may not be able to reach a utopia where everyone has ultimate happiness, we can work to refine things from generation to generation, reducing suffering more and more so that maybe, one day, we can look back and see how far we’ve come.

I could continue, but I don’t want this to turn into a dogma against dogma, so I’ll stop here for now.

Thanks for reading and I’ll catch all of you players soon.

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Sam Goldberg

I write for overthinking millennials, and the creative voice within.