Culture Not Understood by Americans – Ownership, Power, Humanity

I stumbled across the Pineapple Story presentation by Missionary Otto Koning. The fact that he was a missionary is incidental to my observation, which has more to do with the realization that culturally, the tribes he worked with were different. It’s not just that they acted differently. They were different. I’m convinced they were operating from a place most Americans do not understand.

  1. The natives said, “Yes, it’s your garden. Yes, they’re your plants. But the fruit is ours because we helped you plant it.” This sounds very similar to our own President saying, “If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen,” and therefore you owe back to others in the form of taxes.
  2. The natives responded to power. Not brute force, but rather power. Something unlike Jominian quantities. More like subtleties of Sun Tzu. Something that doesn’t add linearly and quantitatively. Power that they would not mess with. Power they could not see. It’s not about power from alliances. It’s more about ontological power. It’s about knowing the position and power one has and yielding to a distinct power. It feels sort of like politics in America.
    American has issues with power. While establishing the government as the all-powerful force, creating courts that can take down anybody, Americans still believe this power comes from the people;  claiming that what comes from them is more powerful than themselves. It’s a strange dichotomy that creates strange tensions in America.
  3. When the missionary said he cannot take the garden back from God because it would hurt him and make him unhappy again, the aggressive natives were were sympathetic to the plight of one who they could see was in a dilemma. Something about even their adversary still holding common ground with their human-ness. There was respect even in disagreement. Their willingness to hear was out of proportion to what they could loose, yet they heard another individual’s hurt and problems of life as powerful as the quantitative loss to many. Is this analogous to taxes collected from many in America to help the one down-trodden welfare recipient? Are these issues of benevolence or seizure?

About Brian

Engineer. Aviator. Educator. Scientist.
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