One of the most beautiful things about humanity is the diversity of the ways we have come up with for doing the same thing. One easy example: cooking. Various parts of the world do completely different things with the same ingredients, and all have the potential to taste excellent.
I for one love having access to all the foods of the world. And most people, while having their own preferences, will not begrudge me for wanting to go to my favourite restaurant. And most amazing is that a majority of people do not seem to begrudge an individual from one ethnic background loving food from another ethnic background. The success of fusion cuisine, which brings together the best from various ethnic cooking techniques, is another sign of people not only accepting differences in cooking, but also learning to build on these differences to make food better. My waistline sometimes suffers from the consequences of this, but that is another story altogether.
It is clear therefore that we have the skills to experiment and learn to create something better out of our differences. How can we apply these skills in arenas of life other than cooking? Perhaps we can move from trying to convince each other of who is right and wrong, to learning to live together in a way that goes beyond tolerance. For example, we could learn to allow divergent lifestyles to cohabit while respecting the differences. Maybe we could even learn to celebrate them, and perhaps one day, learn to build on their respective strengths to create a “fusion lifestyle”.
By focusing on the positive aspects of various lifestyles, we are also cultivate a way of looking at things that filters out the negative and focuses on the positive. As everyone knows, learning to appreciate beauty makes us so much more aware of it, which brings great joy. What effects on a community would learning to appreciate the beauty in all lifestyles be?
One example that comes to mind are weddings. Guests are usually filled with the same sense of joy and reverence when attending a Hindu wedding, a Buddhist wedding, a Bahá’í wedding, or a Christian wedding. They look very different one from the other, but equal in beauty, joy, and happiness. To learn to see all differences in this way would no doubt be quite conducive to creating communities that are filled with joy. And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing to see.
Image credit: Chad MaugerOriginally published on Sahar’s Blog on 9 August 2013