Have you ever stopped to think how many people all over the world take a shower every morning? Or how many never take showers at all? Our world is filled with so many different people, each one has important thoughts, important things to do, important people to see. Our natural course is to assume that others experience life exactly the way we do. This is why I really loved this panel excerpted from How To Understand Israel in 60 Days by Sarah Glidden *:
Understanding the stories of others is something we wrestle with even from the time we are very young. Apparently one of the causes for the rebelliousness of a two-year old is that he suddenly realizes that others’ desires differ from his own. He ponders, “How different are they? Well, let’s find out!”. Much to the consternation of his parents, this exploring is an important first step to understanding how others perceive things differently than we do.
But this doesn’t seem to be a lesson we ever stop learning. We want to believe that everyone is like us because it makes it easier for us to model the world around us. And indeed, there are many people we run into that are a lot like us, but then there is a whole world of people whose lives we can hardly imagine.
* Note: I edited the dialog in the middle panel to make the panel stand on its own. The original read “Half of the passengers on this flight are bound for birthright, just like us”. The full book is about a number of American Jews traveling to Israel on a Birthright trip, which is a trip paid for by the Israeli government to show Jews from around the world what Israel is like. The author is very skeptical of the process, especially in trying to untangle the story behind the Palestinian and Israeli perspective which is what makes it an interesting read.]