December 16, 2010

The World Theatre XII – Degrees of Approach

People are very surprised when I tell them I do not like to travel, I never liked it. I guess what gives travel me is not worth the discomfort that going to a faraway place provides. Especially for someone with bad orientation, little sense of adventure, with flat feet and who hates walking.

When I ask instead to people why they like to travel, they say 'oh, it's nice to see new cultures and lifestyles.’ So the act of traveling is exposed as a means of personal enrichment. That's when provincial easygoing people like me must defend us. To do this I developed my own theory, which allows me to counteract that injury. It is a theory which shows that, in my way, I am a traveler too.

 Image: Simon Howden /

According to this theory, people can be known at three levels according to degree of familiarity or trust with our knowledgeable (as if we had three skins).

The first layer of skin layer is the most superficial, which makes us look all apparently different. Is what I find with the naked eye, after being introduced to someone and had a brief conversation with that person. That is the skin that shows outermost signs which we quickly use to categorize (often mistakenly). We look at his/her custom, character, social status, etc. and we distinguish people in every race, nationality, political beliefs, religions, sexual affinities, and a host of other things. Well, something that could be found in the social network profile.

Under this one, there is a second layer of skin, which shows that we are all essentially the same: with dreams, hopes, fears, jealousy, envy, hunger, and when you look in detail after trying hard enough everyone can see that under this light, a Chinese is not different at all from an Argentine, or a young Canadian from an old woman of Australia. When I know enough a person, I always note these similarities.

And then there is the third skin, my favorite. If I get to know someone well enough (and it makes himself known) below the top two layers I just discover unique aspects about that person, genuine, often amazing, about their way of seeing life and taking sides. That fascinates me. Under this skin, life of the Amazon tribes looks as exotic as that of the neighbor next door. You can not imagine how differently your neighbor thinks. Because when we are truly recognized, each of us, we are not only different but unique.

To make these discoveries you need not to go traveling up or down, and sighting in a few days the topics listed under the surface layers. I'd rather spend my time in learning more about a few people that by chance come across my way. I switch traveling to a place to travel to traveling to an individual. You see, in my opinion I also come to discover new worlds.

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