Let’s start with some intriguing, politically incorrect, small little piece of annoying gossip before we move on to Freud’s ‘Civilisations and its Discontents’:
My third cousin’s best friend’s mother goes to Turkey for a holiday. While choosing a meal at a restaurant she gets into a chit-chat with the waitress. The waitress, trapped in her exciting mood, brings up a story of ‘the good German’ – how she named him – who, unlike the local guests, refuses to smoke inside the smoke friendly restaurant. This sweet and anticipating effort of sparing all the second-hand inhalers – subject to ‘the good German’s’ common sense – triggers a short chain of unpredictable reactions: He goes out, lights a cigarette and as smoke has mysterious ways of finding its course, it sneaks up directly into a nearby passing nose. The person attached to the nose detects the source, shouts “no, you can’t!” and starts accusing ‘the good German’ of his unbelievable rudeness, his lack of common sense and the inability to realize that all noses in the whole world should be inhaling only and only one thing: neutral air.
And the exciting news is: We will skip Freud and go directly to the point of the story…
Once learned, culture becomes the secure, largely automatic way of getting what you want from your environment and as such it turns into a value – into common sense. When this familiar orientation system starts becoming impracticable (Childhood Limbo), it is high time for developing new ways of perceiving oneself and the world (The Honeymoon Stage).
The challenges of ‘normal’ behaviour (Radical Spy) and the questioning of common value systems (Guerilla) enforce the development of new skills and of the ability to see the world from a different angle (Take a Walk on the Park Side). Such a change of perspectives is an important component of critical thinking (Aurelio and Ana Kiri).
This month’s issue is about Culture Shock – the transitional feeling that results from the adjustment period when a person changes his familiar environment (Hotel Commercial) but also when the familiar environment undergoes transformation processes (In Every Way). It is a feeling lying in ambush and moving through migration (36 Boys) and the media (Fugazzi).
To realize that the notion of common sense you have learned in your life is not necessarily valid in another culture can open up new worlds… to the extent to which frontiers are broken down.