posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 01:17 AM
It's a complex question, but I can't help looking at it from my own personal situation. It is something I struggle with daily.
I am an american living in France. Besides the fact that the two cultures are almost completely opposed to each other in values, I went from a urban
upbringing to a rural area (so you get an extra layer of cultural difference you could even find within the same country).
The question eventually becomes- what is meant by "the real you"?
Is it the values, views and behaviors you were conditioned with early in life?
Those were fed to you by others, by a specific environment. Why does that make it "truly" you?
You didn't choose your views on right and wrong- someone else did.
And yet, they are so hard to change, that it could be argued they are too deeply programmed to not be considered part of your "core" being.
Besides judging right and wrong, good and bad, in a totally different environment, I found it more productive to instead work on trying to understand
instead. Traditions, practices, values, all have a purpose within any system.
Where they might not be rational or useful in one system, they may in another.
To give an example of what I mean-
In a culture which is more collectivist in values (as opposed to individualistic) conformity is valued, standards relied upon as guidelines for all, a
government considered to be "of the people"- therefore retaining power to limit the individual corporations to a bigger extent from taking advantage
of or manipulating the population (basically values americans call "socialistic"...)
In that system cheating is subtly encouraged and accepted!
That still rubs me the wrong way. But in that system, the laws are put into place and enforced to restrict the big guys, not the little guys. Also,
with so many rules and limitations on behavior and choice, it becomes necessary to break them in order to individualize! It is only in transgressing
the lines that one expresses their personal individual will- which they do think is important too.
The standards and framework are put there to protect the weaker from the wolves, and to be relied upon for those unable to set their own for
themselves (children, people who are immature emotionally, intellectually, handicapped, elderly).
But if you are sure you are able to fend for yourself, then you can go for it. But then you're on your own- you won't be protected any more. If you
cheat the wrong person, you will face the consequences. You will be dealing with the natural laws of the jungle.
So cheating is considered the eventual graduation from immaturity. It is sort of hypocritical- because it is a cultural concept that is implicit- it
is not outwardly directly expressed. (except by a few french psychologists) You will see it in the way people behave- not only breaking the rules
around them, but expressing a nonchalance toward the perception of someone else doing so.
What I keep finding is that even what I will immediately call bad, turns out to have a context that I never would have guessed, and that spins my head
That doesn't mean I am able to change my own conditioned behaviors (I remain someone who likes rules and follows them, by principle) but it means
others look at me with disrespect and treat me like a weak child. They think I am a stupid sheep-person That gets very frustrating at times- in the
workplace, for example.
But they don't know that I look at the framework of rules as ones I chose to put myself in and I can get out of whenever I want! I chose to accept
this job, with the rules it has- I will quit if I ever decide I really don't want to adhere to them.
It is a matter of integrity to my own choices- not to the boss person.
They cannot fathom such an idea of personal power and choice. If I try to explain to them my very different perspective, where I am coming from, it
would twist their head around.
One can withstand their own integrity within a different environment easier if they work on understanding the environment.