Naked and spectacular

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Just chatting about stuff and shit, you know

It joys me to be reminded, over four months out of New Zealand, of the smallness of the cultural discourse.  When I was a small child I did not know that the rest of the world existed.  I knew Australia was a place that people went for holidays sometimes and was startled when some family friends moved to Australia - I didn't realise people actually lived there.  I heard of a place called the United States of America in a song and I visualised it as a large gymnasium.  I knew the mythical Disneyland is in Los Angeles and I imagined this as a very sad place where a poor little girl called Angeles was lost.  Even my awareness of New Zealand was limited to a few hundred kilometres in any direction.  When my sister went to Auckland the place was beyond my powers of imagination.  Now I am 26 years old and have spent a few months on the other side of the planet and I get this funny feeling that New Zealand is a rather strange place - a little attempt at European culture on a couple of little islands deep in the South Pacific Ocean.  It is perhaps understandable that our attempt at cultural discourse is equally little and with any attempt at reaching beyond our little culture we should receive a pat on the head and congratulations. 

In a culture where the norm is to mumble and make a point to not be understood completely because that is embarrassing it is difficult to create a public discourse that is anything but childish.  It seems intensely exciting and subversive to partake in a conversation that really cuts to the heart of the issue in a way that enriches the understanding and maybe even the sensitivity of the interlocutors.  Consequently our understanding of even the most superficial and simple aspects of our own culture are limited.  However it is possible for two people, or even hundreds of people in my experience, to engage verbally on a matter and through this engagement and mutual desire to deepen and diversify understanding actually find a solution that is greater than either party could have even considered alone.  This is of course far beyond the dynamics of arguing a point and attempting to be right, this is a type of communication that uses language as a medium but actually connects to a far more profound and subtle energy.  I hypothesise that this energy is a psychic connection between the two communicants or maybe even to a larger awareness, but I don't know this of course.  I can only speculate on the experiences I have shared.

I know that New Zealand is a beautiful place filled with many intelligent sensitive people who are waiting to be engaged on a deeper level than they are currently being engaged on.  My suggestion is that we stop mumbling and stop pretending our vocabularies are so infantile and really start exploring the possibilities of this language we have developed.  Perhaps we will understand ourselves and our others a bit better and political correctness can be replaced gradually with a respect and admiration for a culture that is more interesting than we realise.

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