Sunday, July 29, 2007

Living in A Traditional Society

July 8, 2007

Living in a Traditional Society

It may be hard for Westerners to accept that about 90% of the world’s population live in a traditional culture, like Samoa. We tend to admire and encourage changes in our culture, and accept that change, albeit not always readily. We feel changes in our values are an inevitable part of progress. Flux and instability in social position and power allows for the cream to rise to the top. Respect is earned, not inherited. The mind has less knowledge as one ages. Survival of the fittest applies to societies and people, as well as nature. These statements are certainly generalizations and many exceptions occur, so please accept my apologies if you don’t agree. Of course, your right to disagree with me is part of our culture too.

Some of our other traits are to be direct and expect others to be forthright with us. When we ask a question, we expect the answer to be truthful. People with hidden agendas are not to be trusted. Wishy-Washy and Waffling loses elections.

Now imagine a different world, the opposite, if you will, of those traits and values you hold dear. This is now our world in Samoa. Is one better than the other, of course not, but learning to accept that fact is not easy.

Fortunately, part of our training is to help us cope in this traditional world. We all will be tested when we find ourselves alone in a village, away from our nurturing trainers and fellow trainees.

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