Today we live in a much more multi-cultural world than ever before. It is well known that countries like Canada and the United States are made up of hundreds if not thousands of different ethnicities. In fact, there is barely any country that has been untouched by immigration in some way.
Living in Canada, part of the normal conversation with any new person, are the famous questions of “what nationality are you?” or “where are you from?” While many people consider this a normal part of a social conversation, looking at this from an evolving perspective, I would like to cover in this essay why this is one of the most limiting paradigms that many in the world still choose to participate in and identify with.
Let’s take a conscious journey around the world and within, through which I hope to empower you to understand why I have decided to be an Earthian!
The Background of Cultural Labels
I don’t think many people gave much thought to what I am writing to you about today say 200 hundred years ago or more. People usually lived in the country that they were born in their whole lives. Sure there were tribes who moved around and some people told others where they were from, but it was all harmless right?
Well not quite. From as long as we have records, people were often ostracized when they were any kind of “outsiders” or “foreigners”. People identified very strongly with their culture and found lots to be offended by when another put it down. In fact people even started wars over it. Well we have evolved a lot since then, but when it comes to judging or discriminating against someone based on their cultural background or taking offense to a cultural comment – not as much as we would like to believe has changed.
People still go around today, especially in a country like Canada and make the main topic of a conversation what background one is. While it is all fun and innocent to ask out of curiosity or wanting to learn about that culture, many people take it to other levels where it gives them grounds for forming all sorts of biases.
I know this is not quite the case in the United States, where people are very strongly encouraged to pick up the label of “I am American” as soon as their feet hit the American soil. Hence this is one of the main reasons why Canada has been often referred to as a “cultural mosaic”, while the United States has been referred to as a “melting pot”. In one country you are encouraged to hold onto your own ethnic label, while in the other you are encouraged to take on a new ethnic label. Well I have to tell you, not one system here is better than the other.
In fact they both have a huge fallacy and that is they both focus on identifying with a cultural/ethnic label.
The Fallacy of Identification With A Culture
While there is nothing wrong with sharing innocent stories about what your life was like in another country or how you experienced a certain culture, or just plain and simple telling someone where you live, too many people still today choose to identify with their background as part of who they are.
Now at first glance many may not see what is wrong with this, in fact many today still draw their pride and sense of self from this, but when we look deeper and on a more conscious level, many limits and stumbling blocks become visibly exposed with this approach.
First off, people judge other people based on their cultural background, and sometimes very heavily and unfairly. Give the average person just one negative experience with someone from another culture and all of a sudden, everybody from that culture is “you fill in the blank.”
This of course leads to our second problem, and that is that all sorts of prejudices and stereotypes arise from judgement. This would be one thing if we kept it to ourselves, but we seem to have this incessant need to share this view with as many others as we can, most of the time from our own culture of course. Think about per say when you were dating, usually one of the first questions the parents ask is “what background are they?” This will still seem like a valid and reasonable question to many parents today, but from a deeper perspective what do we hope to achieve based on this information? From my personal experience, it was nothing more than to quickly sum up the person as being this way or that way, due to the culture they came from, whether this worked to their advantage or disadvantage.
Look at what has happened to the people who came from any area in the Middle East, especially during the past decade. Due to the events of September 11, 2001, many have never been looked at the same, because we generalized what “that culture” is like. And by the way, what culture would that be? The whole continent, a particular country? Many do not even realize based on geographical basis who they are talking about, just generalize everyone who resembles what they want to assume fits their “pre-defined” picture of that label.
Thirdly, along with the judgment and prejudice, the last important point that I want to talk to you about when it comes to seeing the fallacy of identifying with a culture is separation. Yes, nothing more than drawing a line in the sand between you and them and putting up walls of division.
We are currently experiencing a shift in consciousness on this planet. We are seeing a more and more socially evolving human race today than ever before. Most of us who are waking up out of the illusion of separation, have seen over the decades and centuries enough of the damage it has caused. We have seen the tremendous alienation that led many to wars, fights or arguments. We have seen too many suffer from losing their sense of self, when their cultural label was ripped away from them.
Most importantly, those of us who are waking up today, realize more than anything that at the core and essence of our being, we are not made or defined by what country we were born in, which one we live in or what cultural background we choose to be a part of. We are so much more than this. We realize that although we can experience any part of this Earth and any customs, cuisines or traditions, we are not them – they just do not make us who we are.
Many who are not yet experiencing the shift in consciousness may see the dissolution of a label or the dis-identification with it as a loss of something – their heritage, their history, their roots. Thus they try to resist and hold on. Some may even bring in guilt onto others who try to move on, but this is simply due to their fear of not understanding that you can never lose who you truly are. You and who you really are is by no means found in the cultural background you have.
At our essence we are all the same – we are all one. And the longer we take to accept that and remove the many layers of labels, the longer many of us have to keep on suffering and living in alienation with self and others.
Removing Cultural Labels
Today I live in Canada – some would expect me to say then that I am Canadian, but I choose not to do that anymore. I was not born here, so others would expect me to identify with my European birth country and say that I am that, but I choose not to do that either. In the future, I will very likely be living somewhere else, and I will not identify as that either.
While I have no problem telling people where I was born, or where I currently live, I no longer choose to identify as either of those. As an evolving being, they do not make me who I am in any way, shape or form.
Where am I from? I am from the same place that you came from. Where am I physically living now? On planet Earth. So the best that I can offer today, and choose to label myself as is – Earthian. Yes, you heard me, I am Earthian. And what a coincidence you are too!
I am a spiritual being and in this lifetime, perhaps many others, I have lived on this planet called Earth. You are no different in that respect. Thus today I choose to see the bonds between us, not the divisions. I choose to focus on how much we are alike, not how much we are different. I choose to make my own experiences as I go, not blindly follow in the traditions of others.
Some may still wonder what is the big deal of wanting to identify with a culture, but I tell you this: as long as we choose to identify with a culture that is different than another’s, we choose to put up boundaries and walls between each other. We continue to hold onto the “us” versus “them” paradigm, which only leads to separation. And separation leads to alienation of the other, where we do not see them as equal, in fact we find many ways to see them as inferior to us.
This is not a vision that everyone in the world today will be ready to accept or even agree with yet, and that is fine. Remember, some people choose to evolve and move on past the “what was”, and some choose to stand still. Either way to each his own, as no one experience is better than the other. There are only experiences that serve us more or less. You always have the choice to choose what you feel best serves you and humanity as a whole.