It’s a small world if you have a small mind.
Note: I wrote this while watching videos. If you’ve ever written while listening to people talk you’ll know why I’m adding this note.
Tonight I’ll be using the absolutely excellent new layout that Liz designed for me for streaming on twitch. If you aren’t there you are officially square (or at least some kind of polygon). There is something inherently interesting about the internet and the challenge it presents to people trying to entertain (or even educate) on it. These same challenges exist on the micro level of a single classroom but when you balloon them to the entire world it does feel relatively daunting.
Over the last year I’ve come across an interesting kind of human being. Specifically mentioned because of their relation to this train of thought and not because they are – in fact – the only interesting person I’ve come across. Obviously every day is littered with strange and interesting new experiences [but I digress].
I am speaking of the king of human being that thinks that their experiences in their country are literally 1:1 analogous and applicable to a new country that they visit. Not the simple assumptions that [say] every person on average wants to eat food and drink water. Nothing so universal or obvious.
No I mean the kind of person that literally thinks that every person they’ve met, every place they’ve been, every quirk they’ve experienced is entirely and ultimately definitive of the human condition. At our work we have a name for it, we call it “in Korea”. Every time one of these unique minds comes into a conversation they try to guide the train of thought by using stories from their time in Korea.
I had heard that starter off and on for the last four years but it has become exceptionally prominent in the last year. The thing is that over the course of four years it has been right (and I mean this literally) 0 times. There has not been a single time that we have had a problem and used Korea as a guide and had it work. Never, not once, over the course of 1,460 days!
You’d think with a 0% success rate this would stop being a thing but it has not only not stopped it has become far more common. I understand the psychology, you don’t want to admit that something that defines your life is wrong, but it still dumbfounds me on a personal level.
People do share some traits across cultures but this is obvious and uninspired. We all share roughly the same number of organs in the same roughly locations and they all do roughly the same think (that is to say my kidneys work basically the same as yours minus some genetic differences, speeds, efficacies etc).
But to think that business, culture, faith, or any other regionally specific trait has a 1:1 potency in another totally different place is absurd on every level. If this were the case you wouldn’t have these altercations between nations. At the fundamental levels the things that drive us to such a great rage that we would firebomb a nation are those that are not universal in scope.
Complimentary cultures tend to negotiate, Clashing cultures tend to battle. We talk about resources, oil, rare metals, and so forth, but I suspect that you’ll find the heaviest levels of clashing happen between the nations with the highest number of non-complimentary drivers. Clashing faiths, business styles, and so on.
I couldn’t say for sure but if this is a very common business style in Korea it would be unwise to invest in companies there that are trying to move here. They will undoubtedly fail. Perhaps that is why so many local Korean companies that bring over products from there have failed. An inability to differentiate what drives cultures other than ones own.
Edit!: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I think this problem of thought actually originally rose because of the airplane and not the internet. The ability to travel from one country to any other in under a day has likely played a large part in giving people the incorrect belief that we are all shoulder to shoulder. That ocean has provided a lot of time and space for different cultural evolution.