Loosing cultural ground… and gaining some.May 08
If there is to be a point where I have to officially admit it .. i guess its here and now. Besides from losing my mind ( which happened a long time ago), my ties with something that would have to represent reality ( out the window ) I have now also lost all cultural ties with my own nationality / hometown etc.
The reason you ask ? Well besides from the first two , who where only a matter of time , the loss of cultural integrity is entirely to blame on the internet. And in this case : Skype to be precise. Over the last week while working hard on the new website design and being in the works of providing the whole Knightwise.com idea with some more traction, I have stumbled across two gentlemen who happen to live on other sides of the planet. Dave ( from Roostersrail ) and Sebastian ( From Sebs Random thoughts ) are two very talented writers / podcasters who happen to hang out in cyberspace together a lot. So as little old me stumbled across their mutual Skype conversation .. The hook – line and sinker scenario unfolded .. And farewell Flemish roots.
But i'm getting ahead of myself. The reason for this loss of cultural integrity is not only the fact that I am spending more and more of my time (online) with people from all over the world (Saturday morning was happily squandered away in a conference call between a Sacramento professional body-painter and his wife, an american college student living in Britain and little old me) I also caught myself talking global events with Wallaby-land Australia while doing the dishes. And at that point I'm not even mentioning emailing people around the globe and now having to refer to persons with their nationality or personal website attached to their name , in order to keep them apart.
And its butchering my English accent (which is getting seasick from swinging between American-southern-states-style and British-nine-o'clock-news-style) It now has tendencies to lunge for an Australian-I-just-shot-mysellf-a-crock accent (Thank you Sidney !) But far more worse .. It is absolutely killing my cultural identity. So close to the Eurovision song contest where us Europeans do want to patt ourselves on the chest and shout .. I'm a proud 'Insert-country-here' , I on the other hand feel like a citizen of the world. Knowing somebody personally on every continent and having these people interact with you on a daily bases has done nothing good for the xenophobic backwater-smalltown-mindset that I sprang from.
So there is a wonderful danger on the edge of real and cyberspace. It lurks in every corner and the more people you meet the more dangerous it gets. It takes away these preciously built misconceptions we have. Stereotypes of all kind that help us make sense of the world as we jam everybody we don't even know into preselected cubicles in order to make sense of it all. This danger is called : REALITY .. The reality that dawns upon you when you start realizing that we are ALL just people and that fearing what you don't know is the dumbest thing you can do. And more importantly ..After seeing that people are just people , you have to realize, YOU are just people to .. and the cubical of your own nationality / ethnic group has just faded away around you.
People are just people and its great to get to know them one by one.. I'm not a Belgian, You're not 'black' .. He's not a Muslim .. She's not a Republican ..
WE are all just people.