I have never been very interested in focusing on the differences between cultures, as this assumes that one can define one’s own to begin with: that a kind of vantage point can be created, from which one can observe those ‘others’ who are not like you. This inevitably leads to the creation of comparisons. But once they are created, those comparisons are, by their very nature, one-sided. Who is making the comparison? Who is the subject (or perhaps the victim) of this comparison?

Of course differences between cultures exist; they are inevitable, and they are vitally important. Self definition is an instinct, for cultures as much as for individuals; the expression of difference is the manifestation of identity. Strangely enough, or perhaps it isn’t so strange, identity is the first step towards solitude, which may perhaps be the natural state towards which all human beings aspire.

– from Different Moments, Daniel Keene

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