In My Culture| 770 words
Background reading: In My Culture.
In my culture, people say what they mean. If we’re deciding what to get for dinner and you say you don’t care, everyone will act as if you literally don’t care. They will decide where to go to dinner and you will be expected to agree with the decision (provided you haven’t said anything in the meanwhile).
In my culture, you are allowed to discover your preferences. If we’re deciding where to go to dinner and you initially say you don’t care, but then think about it some more and realize that you actually do care, then you’re allowed to say that you care now and no one can say “but you said you didn’t care earlier.” People in my culture know that sometimes it is difficult to know what your preferences are and you can go from thinking that you don’t care to actually caring within a few minutes.
In my culture, if you ask a question, people are allowed to answer it. If you ask someone whether or not they like your painting, they’re allowed to say no. You, as the painter, are also allowed be dissapointed, but you are expected to recognize that the judgement was about the painting and not you as a person. You’re allowed to feel offended, but you’re expected to recognize that in asking whether or not someone liked your painting, they might say that they don’t.
In my culture, the default mode is trying to solve the problem. If you complain to your friend about something that is going wrong with your life, the default mode will be for your friend to offer suggestions on how to fix the problem. If you don’t want them to tell you how to solve the problem, then you are expected to say “I just want to complain about it, not try to fix it.”
In my culture, when you’re giving advice, you’re allowed to make statements about the person you’re advising that you deem to be accurate. If the person you’re advising is trying to undertake an ambitious project, you are allowed to say “I don’t think you’re smart/motivated/disciplined/talented enough to do this project.” As the person receiving advice, you’re allowed to dispute these claims and provide evidence to the contrary, but you are expected to recognize that these statements do not contain any moral judgement about you and are just pieces of information that are relevant to your decision.
In my culture, the words we use for how important things are are reversed in magnitude. If something is a mild offence, we say it is “illegal” and “forbidden.” If something is a grave offence, we say “please do not do that.” If you’re under mild distress, you are “dead” and “have perished.” If you are under extreme distress, you are “stressed” and “worried.”
In my culture, if no one tells you to stop doing something, then you can continue doing it. We assume that for any reasonable action, if it is harming somebody, they will tell you that it is harming them. Taking the contrapositive, all actions that you are not told to discontinue may be continued. However, you are supposed to consider on your own whether or not an action could be causing many small amount of harms that make it a net bad thing to do.
In my culture, you don’t tell people to stop doing things unless the relative harm of forcing them to change their behavior is less important than how much the behavior harms you. If a friend likes to eat a food that omits a smell that you do not like, you are expected to assess the how the benefit your friend gets from eating the food compares to the harm you suffer from having to smell the food. If you think the scales are close, you are to default to non-action. If you think the scales tip only slightly in favor of ceasing the behavior, you are to gather additional information as to the relative benefit your friend gets. You are also expected to consider taking other behaviors that reduce the harm to you, like not being in the area while the food is being consumed or breathing through your mouth. If you decide to ask someone to change their behavior having thought through all of the above, they are allowed to make their own assessment of the relative harm/benefit and disagree with your conclusion. However, the default assumption is that if you say something causes you X amount of harm, then it does actually cause you X amount of harm.