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To observe

Santa MariaOur observation is sometimes limited to the things we know or expect. Do you know the story of the shaman, who did not see the ships of Columbus approaching until his consciousness increased? Maybe that's a fantasy, but it describes very well our general problem that we can not recognize things we do not yet have a basic knowledge of. We can't give meaning to things that are not related to previous experiences, because the brain always first tries to place observations in existing frames.

Some time ago there was a TV show about western people who went to the African bush to experience how people live there. As we have some basic knowledge of life in third world countries, it was not such a big problem to adjust. That doesn't mean that we really understand the people there, their thinking, values ​​and convictions. And of course we have trouble adopting local customs due to our prejudices about hygiene and food, because scientists have trained us with knowledge about health for many decades.

The most interesting episode came when those African people made a return visit to the Netherlands. They were shocked by the traffic, some anti-social behavior, the technical world and the strange materials we use. They no longer recognized food and were constantly trying to explain things with the words and knowledge they were used to. It was an extreme culture shock for them. Different worlds are often difficult to bring into contact with each other.