I’m back in China again, this time without George, and I’ve learned a lot.
Some loose thoughts:
- When you come to China as a non-chinese person, you get to exist in some sort of bubble. When I came with George, I was also that bubble. This time with my improved Chinese and more solitary travel, I was able to completely blend in more, and I saw more.
- Milk here is 8.1% fat WHAT IS THAT?? (Skim milk is .5%, half and half is 13%) Milk here is much closer to half and half than what I’m used to calling milk.
- Sometimes when I whine about China to Americans, they conclude that China is “behind”. This annoys me. I want to figure out how to express that these things come from differences. I don’t want us to be too arrogant.
One of the main ideas is that it might seem like other cultures “aren’t getting it” somehow, or they are less logical than us. I think many things comes down to power and ownership.
Imagine standing in the center of a football field. If a stranger came on to this field, they can totally stand anywhere they want. If they chose to stand within a feet of me, I would think they were very strange. This also might be because I think I have a right to (or own) the immediate space around me. I think this because that’s just reasonable to me, and it’s so reasonable that I think that most people would probably also think this is reasonable.
In China that football field is filled with people, so to insist on the same amount of personal space we’re used to in America would be pretty unreasonable.
Why do we believe at we own anything at anytime? I guess it’s just only an unspoken agree upon contract. If we laid claim to something that nobody else has claimed, nobody else can take it, and order is maintained.
It’s like I drew a circle around myself in that football field, and I said it’s a law that nobody can cross into it, and I will not cross into your circle either. Sometimes it feels like in China, there are so many people, they’re gonna cross into that circle, what are you going to do about it? That’s right. Nothing.
And like the idea of personal space, if you consider where the many various quirks of Chinese culture came from, there’s no need to feel superior, because they are being completely logical.
Now football: I’ve thought this before, but we’re the only country that loves Football more than soccer. I don’t want to be ethnocentric but I think that says a lot about our culture. Soccer is a more straightforward game. You want the ball to reach the opposite goal, you can mostly only use your legs, wheeeee! But football is so much more complicated, and subtle. It’s much more like war. Even on a casual basis, America prefers this very stylized specific dance. Americans are like hipsters of the world. We’re very specific about what we enjoy, and the reasons behind it are all very philosophical and idealized. The things we like are so specific, we only like certain things in certain contexts, because it represents specific ideals.
We have a lot of trouble coming to terms with the life cycle. I think some part of Chinese culture “understands” that life is about work. You work, and then you die. You labor because you have to live. I put understands in quotes because I’m not sure it’s that simple. Sometimes I feel as Americans, we believe life is for “revolutionizing”. The whole friggin reason we started this country was to be different from our various “old countries”. I don’t think we can stay the same nor we should stay the same. I think constant change is maybe our destiny, yet I am personally often afraid of change. But yea that’s everybody.
So if I were to summarize my thoughts in this post very very concisely as I possibly can,
I am beginning to increasingly understand and appreciate what difference really means in our human race. I don’t think any of us can even remember the first time the idea that “everybody comes from different perspectives” was introduced to us. Even though I’ve always understood this idea in theory, I think that I and many other people fail to appreciate what this means. Only when I gain a new level of understanding that I realize how I didn’t understand before.
This is just another entry related to my experience with the Four Stages of Competence.
The four stages
- Unconscious incompetence The individual does not understand or know how to do something and does not necessarily recognize the deficit. They may deny the usefulness of the skill. The individual must recognise their own incompetence, and the value of the new skill, before moving on to the next stage. The length of time an individual spends in this stage depends on the strength of the stimulus to learn.
- Conscious incompetence Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, as well as the value of a new skill in addressing the deficit. The making of mistakes can be integral to the learning process at this stage.
- Conscious competence The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires concentration. It may be broken down into steps, and there is heavy conscious involvement in executing the new skill.
- Unconscious competenceThe individual has had so much practice with a skill that it has become “second nature” and can be performed easily. As a result, the skill can be performed while executing another task. The individual may be able to teach it to others, depending upon how and when it was learned.