Saturday, September 09, 2006

England is Miserable

I will just start by clearing up any confusion might have been caused by the title: it wasn't me who said that!
Not only I can't imagine myself saying such a thing, but also I don't feel that I have the right to do so. It'd feel like someone who lives in a messy house walking into a Hall and criticizing this mis-placed paint and that. Even though that could be true (from an objective point of view), but the rational question in that case would be: "Why Don't you start with cleaning up your own house?!"

For me, and after all, England is a romantic dream coming ture. All the beauty of nature, houses, towns, and people keep astonishing me every time I see more. Maybe I haven't lived here long enough to take all the advantages for granted and start complaining about the relatively few disadvantages...But anyway, I still think of England as an amazingly charming place.

It was a young Scottish doctor who said in a casual conversation: "England is miserable, it is over-crowded. The weather is horrible, and English people are miserable too. I think this has something to do with the weather."

What? I thought to myself. If England is miserable and over-crowded, then what does Scotland look like? Paradise?
I always heard about Scotland, the beauty of its nature and the kindness of its people (Although I haven't seen it myself, to be honest). But that "English is miserable" was the most tempting invitation to visit Scotland I have ever received!

What I am trying to say is how do people think differently of the very same thing. I tried to imagine myself trying to reach any sort of agreement with that guy. It sounds literally impossible.
To me, the reason behind that is our different backgrounds. Imagine two people having an argument about miserable lives of soldiers, with one of them thinking of a corporal, and the other of an admiral. How on earth can they reach an agreement?

For all of that, I think most of conversation's faliure can be attributed to the lack of any common ground. People talking about the same thing from different perspectives can end up very furious with each other in no time. I truely believe that agreeing on simple-abstarct points should be the start of any successful conversation on any controversy, especially with the subject being cultural differences.

You can browse all over Forums and Blogs on the web and you'll find loads of examples of people who have no idea what they and the other have in common. Even worse, many tend to be bad listeners, and then comes misunderstanding, and the worst of all: fixed ideas. No wonder why they call it: "clash of civilizations"

Well, any conclusion? Just try to remember that the same thing might have completely different meanings to different people. End of story


abufares said...

good thinking ascribo. the same experience could have totally different meaning for two participants.
even beauty, an abstract quality at best is in the eye of the beholder.

"Al Erd Bi 3en Ommo Ghazal"
القرد بعين امه غزال

A monkey is a gazelle in it's mother's eye.

Personal opinion might take a totally opposite twist at times. We tend to forget the beautiful in and around us and simply take it as background noise. This trap we should never allow ourselves to fall in. Not only by keeping our eyes open, but our hearts as well.

I love Munich said...

Very good post .. I like the way you analyse!
It's all in the eyes of the beholder .. what I like, you may find only average and what appeals to you, I may not be fond of at all!
I think it is all about finding ONE common denominator ... not necessarily about agreeing in general. It is to a large extent our different cultural background which makes us see things differently but then again - diversity does not HAVE to be something negative, in fact I like it a lot and think it acts as "the salt in the soup"!

Thanks so much for sharing Ascribo!!

Ascribo said...

This trap we should never allow ourselves to fall in. Not only by keeping our eyes open, but our hearts as well

A piece of wisedom Abufares, as always. I promised myself that I'll never let myself into that trap again. I'll try (hard) to avoid all kinds of prejudice and judging people or things without enough knowledge. I'll do whatever I can to keep my hear open to accept change, and never to be "the enemy of what I ignore"...

Ascribo said...


It's so rewarding to have such an open-minded (and open-hearted, I say) fellow around. I hope everybody will be able to accept diversity the way you do...
Thank you for your precious comment

Angel said...

Ascribo! Is it “Looking at life from different angles!”

September is rushing past so quickly it's nearly time to say hello for October, so this is a double comment to your post: very late or very early, depending which way you look at it.. :-)
Different people from different cultures at different time may have different views on one same thing…… the key thing here is that Ascribo can take dramatically different pictures of a rose just by changing his position and angle to it….
When people talk about something, they tend to image it in the way they are used to, and from an angle from where they stand. However, the real situation may be different people who live with it……..
Someone stated…With all the debates in our life….the basic idea is simple. We cannot agree on the deep questions, so we have to go shallow…. Find the level at which those who disagree on the deep can nonetheless find common ground….. when you cannot reach agreement at the deep end of the pool of ideas, head for the shallow end!... Do you agree with this? :-)

I think that's what I love best about your writing is that it makes me look at things that you see every day, or things you do every day, and turn them around to see them from a totally different angle. With a bit of luck, if we look at life from enough different angles, maybe we can begin to understand it. Just maybe.. :-)

Quality as always my dear

I love Munich said...


Ascribo said...

Dear Angel,

Although I always like what you write, but I disagree with the shallow and deep bit. It may sound more easy to think in the most simple way and say: we are all human beings, we all got eyes, ears, we look the same. But can't you see that this will remove any sense of beauty we might have got?! All our beauty, all our understanding of complicated ideas, all human philosophy, all inventions, all nice things in life; can be attributed to our diversity and different way of thinking. If we lost that, or tried to lose it, we'll turn into numbers! Just copies of the same hopeless, uncreative human being.

I would say that I like it this way, we just need to learn how to make the most of our differences...

Ascribo said...

Oh Karin! Tagging again! This sounds like more than "warm" welcome into the blogsphere!

Just give me some time to answer all the difficult questions!

The Syrian Brit said...

First, a heartly 'Thank You' for placing a link to my humble blog on your delightful and facinating blog.. I sincerely hope that I can demonstrate that I deserve it...
Second, I really think that the first step towards understanding others is trying to look at things from THEIR point of view, something I try to practise in my daily life.. That, sadly (or perhaps, thankfully!..), makes me a lousy politician, because a 'good politician' (is there such a thing, or is that an oximoron?..) would defend his/her point of view, even if he/she believes it is wrong!.. However, good politician or not, I find that such an attitude helps me achieve a much better understanding of people, even those whom I do not necessarily like or agree with..

Rami the Merciful said...

Ascribo, I love this latest post because it rings so true with many of our encounters on a daily basis. I find myself running into people with differing outlooks whose mindsets cannot be converted, but instead must be understood within the context of their own culture/background.

Insightful and observant as always.

P.S.- if you'd like to check out my blog, it's ""

Ascribo said...

Dear The Syrian Brit,

My "Blogroll" is reserved for Blogs where I read usually. Your blog is certainly one of my enjoyable readings...

Looking at things from others' point of view is a great gift, or let's say a skill. It's hard to be practiced without enough experience.

Your Good/Bad politician reminded me of a short conversation I had. In which, one of the consultants told me: "you'll make a good politician, because you're able to change your mind so quickly"...So I think trying to agree with others will (unfortunately) make you a good politician!

Finally, it is not necessary to have the "single-opinion" situation. I mean we don't have either to agree or disagree with each other. We can still differ in a fruitful way. As said in Arabic: الاختلاف في الرأي لا يفسد للود قضية

Ascribo said...

Dear Rami,

Thank you for passing by. I highly appreciate your thoughful comments

I will try to read through your blog soon.

The Syrian Brit said...

I think a 'good' politician does not change his mind quickly, as your Consultant suggests... A 'good' politician only makes you BELIEVE that he has!.. I, for one, am too transparent for that kind of behaviour!.. whenever I tell a lie, the tip of my nose goes purple, and my mouth goes very dry!.. So, my friend, I can NEVER be a 'good' politician!..
Furthermore, I don't think one should necessarily try 'to agree with others', as you put it.. simply looking at things from a different point of view does not necessarily mean that you agree with that point of view..
I, like you I guess, have my own firm views about many things.. Viewing matters from another person's perspective simply helps me understand where they're coming from..

Ascribo said...

The Syrian Brit,

I agree that being able to tell lies is a required skill for a politician to have...In this case, You'll never be a politician, neither good nor bad!

I understand that it's not necessary to agree with others. Understanding is always required!

Thank you for your precious visit

Ozzie said...

I heard a psychologist talking about Great Britain one day. According to him he had this impression (after listening to general opinion) : The Irish are mad; The Welsh are thieves; The Scottish are miserly and The English are sadistic. I wonder if his impressions were accurate.