Why is this child naked?
Are his parents aware of contemporary threats? Not to mention solar radiation?
I felt embarrassed when I saw a four years old child completely naked, swimming in a hotel pool with its grandmother, but I felt even more awkwardly embarrassed when I caught myself thinking about it.
Where is my common sense. It’s a CHILD after all. So what if it has no pants? Small children are allowed to not have pants. When, if not now?
And a notion, as if my thoughts were bugged (I hope that Google isn’t working on such devices and isn’t testing them on me) – a receptionist approached the grandmother and discretely asked if she could dress up the child.
– What immoral behaviour? It’s just a child!
– I’m sorry, but someone filed a complaint.
Glancing around the pool, it became apparent who that someone was.
One wouldn’t even have to guess, as couple of Americans loudly started expressing their disgust with the grandmother’s barbaric behaviour.
“That is pure pornography!”
The Latino grandmother, with a smile on her face, calmly replied:
– If they decided to visit our barbaric continent, they must open themselves on our customs and suspend their filthy thoughts, until they return back to their country.
During that absurd discussion about morality and barbarity – their two years old daughter, influenced by an older friend – unleashed herself from the habits of her civilization, and happily started running naked – to the dismay of her parents.
The matter of morality highly complicated as it requires a lot of openness, distance and empathy to actually want to see a different point of view, rather than judge, and – what’s more important – and all of that without trying to convert someone.
Unfortunately, in our cultural field, we have a disposition for evangelizing.
While conducting research for IZMAŁKOWA, we often perform confrontational exercise – we choose people that are friends on daily basis, but… have fundamentally different views within the framework of studied issues. We did not happen to study such delicate matters as child pornography, but subjects as: Advertisements – are they needed, not needed? PZU is a good insurance company – no, it isn’t! A child should be fed with artificial milk – no, cow milk – most certainly.
People that normally are friends – during research often become enemies… The intensity of these discussions does not cease to surprise me. From a research point of view – fantastic. We receive a lot of arguments; we do not have to perform stupid projection exercises to see what the priority is. But simplifying… I am wondering – how many generations and years of education must pass by, for us to open ourselves to the fact that someone, having a different opinion – is OK. Maybe later a next afterthought will come – maybe the other side is right and I will get interested in its view.
When I was living among Indians in Venezuela, none of them tried to strip me, even though women there often wore no t-shirts. My covered breasts did not shock, did not disturb. Indians did not have any need to convince me of superiority of uncovered breasts in relation to covered with layers of bras, shirts and scarves.
When I was in Colombia, in a place where marijuana is smoked on a daily basis, rolled like a cigar, and I said that I’m not up for it, I did not have to listen to a monologue about how good it is, how does it develop the mind and that us – whites – are bums that smoke crappy cigarettes instead of pure weed.
When I went to Rapa Nui, no one tried to convince me that doing what you NOW want to is better than doing what you planned. It was me trying to convince them otherwise. Do you know how did they react? They silently listened, nodded and then, just like that, went for a supper to a friend they met on their way to me.
Europeans and Americans are evangelists. It’s not enough for us to be right. We want others to recognize our reasoning. We want others to be like us.
That is why it’s so hard for us to adapt to other cultures and to understand that the other person is just… an-other. Not worse, not better, not weird, not odd… DIFFERENT.
In India chaos is part of the culture. In China on the other hand, order and structure form the culture, thus China (and all the other cultures that value structure) positions itself above the unbounded by order India. But India simply has different beliefs – their society thinks that order is as good as disorder. The rules are as good as their lack. They worship equally gods, those obedient and those rebellious. Part of India’s culture is it’s openness to diversity. More than rules, they value the answer to the question WHY, FOR WHAT REASON, WHAT IS IT’S MOTIVE.
As a consequence, their way of thinking is simply different and it’s hard for them to understand, why someone is trying to change, correct their cultural DNA. What you do is OK, its OK what your enemy does and it’s OK that I don’t care.
I was raised in Uzbekistan, in a country not far from India, on their films, songs, and tales and maybe that’s why its way easier for me to understand that it’s OK – to be different. It’s OK to have a different opinion. Often people think that I’m brave expressing unpopular views. For me it’s not a matter of bravery. It’s a matter of values. I simply believe that everybody has a right to think different.
That’s why observing “child pornography” made me doubt if we are really as civilizationally developed as we think, if we resent over any difference, otherness.
The essence of human who is strong is that he does not have to prove that strength. And the essence of established and certain views is that they can be spoken calmly and firmly but without the need to use them to convince others. With mind open to the arguments of the other side instead, because maybe we can benefit from its subjective truth…
In the context of a fierce discussion about what is right and what is not right – I wish everybody to be strong and diverse in views, just like people from India – you are right and it’s OK, and I am right and it’s OK. And one more thing – its totally OK – to both have no opinion or to have one but without need to express it.