The world is changing!!!
Despite the excited punctuation, this is not news: Change is the one constant mankind knows. Countless millennia ago some venturesome animal stood up on its back legs and stepped out into a new life, never to be the same again.
Today, I sense that my world is poised to plunge again onto uncharted ground. No longer do different peoples live relatively isolated from one another. I lift my phone and connect with a friend in a different culture, as easily as if she lives next door.
Safe in my own surroundings I build my own life. I accept what my society says about what is good and what is bad. The morality which charts my life is set. I strive to follow it, believing that others around the globe are on the same path with me. To my surprise, I find that often this is not so. Morality codes vary between cultures, sometimes in minor ways and sometimes with extreme differences. This can make cooperation between cultures difficult and, sometimes, impossible.
As one example, about seventy years ago I made a trip as a social worker, visiting a remote area in Northern Alberta with the district nurse, to investigate some rumours. The area was populated by people from a backwoods district in Eastern Europe. Cut off geographically from other people, they had developed their own rules for living as good people:
- Marry only within the clan
- Follow a patriarchal system
- Produce large families
The last point was important as their numbers were few. This problem produced their last rule. A daughter was not eligible to be married until she had proven that she was capable of bearing a child. This was accomplished by having her father or brother be the parent of that first child.
Apparently this worked well until they moved to Canada. Then the police and the law moved in. Their choices: drop these practices immediately and submit to monitoring as a check, go to jail, or return to Europe.
An extreme example? Surely. But today, more than ever, a multicultural world is a reality. Canada is home to many different people and cultures. What are some of the advantages? Do the difficulties outweigh the benefits? I don’t know. I do know that the future is facing me. Best I do my homework and be ready to travel through this complex and unpredictable, yet wonderful and beautiful world.