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Make the platform bigger

There was a great philosopher or linguist who once said that a person's life can be valued or measured by the number of languages he or she knows. What that means is the value of life expands when you expand your understanding of the experiences of others. Language becomes a conduit for that. In order to learn someone else’s words some part of you has to also empathize with what it means to experience life as a person who speaks that language. I often thought that one of the reasons why many Japanese people have such a hard time with language is because it is difficult for them to experience life through another identity. The staccato katakana rhythm of English pronunciation that many so tight-fistedly hold on to serves as a security blanket. It helps them to identify with other members of their community. To fully embrace another language requires us to release a part of ourselves into a new way of expression.

I don't think that releasing part of yourself means you destroy yourself. Remember the law of thermodynamics. Energy cannot be destroyed or created. It only changes forms. Therefore the energy that represents your identity cannot be destroyed. It only changes forms. In this case, it expands and becomes more. That is one of the greatest myths that bigots and racists hold onto. They believe somehow their identity or culture will be destroyed once they accept others. It is a preposterous idea. I suppose expanding ones understanding of the world does change the core identity. Perhaps it's change that people are most afraid. Many would rather harden like a clay man left in the sun than open themselves up to expansion.

That's one of the reasons why I love this couple in the photograph. When I saw them painting I could see how deeply they were into the process. I could also see how much they loved sharing the moment with each other. Painting is something that I cannot do but it is something I would like to learn, as a way of expanding my own identity. I also have to work on my Japanese a bit more. I can talk about nothing fairly well but, when it comes to deeper issues, I get stuck every time. I know it's because I'm trying to reach for own my identity as a platform to stand on. I just have to not forget to make the platform bigger.


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