I am amazed at how unworldly many people are. Those of us who have grown up in countries other than the one we live in, or have had a chance to be in many cultures around the world, seem to have a different perspective on world events compared to someone who just drinks from one fire hose. A recent discussion with a friend brought this to light in a very stark way, and although I will not get into the details of it, it made me realize just how much propaganda we are all exposed to.
We tend to think that things like ethics and morals are, or should be global. But this is far from the truth. Many of these doctrines of society were originally put in place as the early form of law and order, established to enable large numbers of people to live together in a harmonious way. Today they are propagated throughout society by the news, religion, Hollywood and many other avenues. We donít see it as propaganda because it is what we expect. It is aligned with the prevalent views of the society that made them. It is in a way, a cyclic reinforcement of the societal views and a way to slow down the rate of change of cultural migration.
Let me give you one example. Please do not take this as a statement of support for a particular cause; it is merely used to show the point. One thing that the U.S. believes in is freedom. But what is freedom? It is only the ability to do what that society has said is right, proper, legal and moral. But what happens when freedom and morals come into conflict? For example, pro-choice people believe they should have the freedom to decide what happens to their bodies. Pro-lifers exclaim that this is not a freedom issue but a moral issue. In other countries, abortion and contraception are completely open and legal and so they would look at us and proclaim that the women of this country are not free if they cannot make the choice for themselves. In the opposite direction, the U.S. is often quick to scorn or chastise others for restrictions that come from their religious views. To them, just like in the U.S., morals rank higher than freedoms.
There are many times when we look at other countries and say that they do not have the same freedoms as those in the US. That is a totally true statement, but to decree one set of freedoms to be better than another is to be closed minded. In the high-tech industry, we are part of a global workforce and we must work with people who have different ideas, religious views and ideas about what is right and wrong. To attempt to always enforce our views on them is not right. We must be open to differences, we must be more accepting, we must be ready to understand.
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