Friends are often people who have something in common. Whether they like the same genre of music, enjoy the same climate, or hold the same political views, a commonality between two people is often what makes them friends. You often hear about two strangers sharing an adventure and returning as best friends.
Two families with similar situations or similar goals might be very close friends, both the parents and kids. Two communities with common beliefs in separate parts of the world might become sister cities. Two countries with similar goals or similar beliefs or political views will work together to reach their goals or ward off their enemies.
The world is covered in little moving dots called humans. We all share the same humanoid form. We breathe the same air. Our beliefs vary, but the concept of beliefs, ideals and value systems is shared by most cultures.
Like people, cultures are all so different. Two mature people, with their own values and belief systems, can have arguments over the minutest mundane happenstances. Consider your best friend. You claim to know everything about that person. You understand the person. You know how his schedule runs. You know how he likes to organize his clothes. You know where he’s been and what his life goals are. And even with all of the similarities friends share, best friends get into arguments that sometimes end in a fight.
Oftentimes, people hate each other from the start due to ethical systems or pet peeves. They might not know anything about the other person, just that they are different.
All of these people share a common culture and social status. Now, imagine two American born people living in the same Middle American suburb. Most everything about them is the same, except that one was raised with hard working Caucasian third generation American parents and the other was raised by hard working Indian immigrants.
From the outside the two houses look the same. On the inside, every possible detail is different. Their religious beliefs, the way they fold their clothes, the colors they like, the schedules they keep, their nationalism and most every aspect of their family life is at opposite extremes.
These people come from different cultures. Different parts of the world evolved separately, and hence, differently. It’s not just that Indian people wear more colorful clothes or eat different foods than Americans, they have a completely different set of values and beliefs. And being that values and beliefs are what drive human actions, Americans may hate certain activities or objects that Indians adore so much, or vice versa.
This is a sad state of affairs indeed. Why should we even try to be friends? Cultures are just so different. Cultural and religious belief systems lead to wars even between countries sharing a region. How can an entire world be expected to function without self-destructing in a relatively short amount of time?
The simple answer is that we need to find what commonalities we share. Most of us want to live in peace. Most of us want to be free to do as we choose. Most of us want comfortable lives. Most of us want sustenance. We all share the fact that we don’t have solutions to certain complex problems. We are small. We all live on a tiny island in space. Many of us want to find out what exists beyond this island, so that our progeny inherit enough space to go around.
I learned a personal lesson that helped pull me out of my prepubescent depression. The lesson goes as follows:
Find one small good thing in your life and focus on it. Build up on it. Over time, you will start to see many good things.
It has a lot to do with perception. If we perceive humanity as a lost cause, then we are lost. Conversely, if we choose to find the small common points that we share, and we focus on those small points and build up on them, humanity will endure.
I believe. Do you?