Soleil Levant

Sausalito, CA, United States

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Soleil Levant
Posted almost 3 years ago
Is it possible for an individual to be without ethnocentrism?
I do think it is possible to experience a reality beyond ethnocentrism, but it's very uncommon. I dated an Austrian man, who was so severely ethnocentric that despite his travels to many other places he had never been able to see his own cultural bias AT ALL. To him it was THE TRUTH, and he could not see around it despite simple explanations. It was the platform from which everything he experienced was measured and judged against. I think it has much more to do with early exposure to other cultures and being taught acceptance of differences and critical thinking as a child, than travel and exposure as an adult. I find that most (not all) people who are strongly ethnocentric only become more so when forced to “deal with” or accommodate other perceptual frameworks. Too, I see it as a functional mental template, so long as we keep it flexible. When we inherit a totalitarian cultural prison in our minds we are limited and our personal reality and growth is stunted. What we think of as ethnocentricity is an inherited paradigm, a rigid mental structure, which limits us. None the less, a healthier open use of this necessary mental structure allows us to define our values and purpose, as well as enjoy and appreciate our experiences, and it's something we can upgrade as we learn more. We are limited in part by the way the brain understands and organizes input, but with the cultivation of an open mind and awareness we can define our own rather than inherit one. I find that one thing that does seem to impact this is self observation meditation. The more we dissolve the strong concept of "I" me and mine, by observing the content of our mind and not engaging it, the more we realize how much of what we think "I think" is actually not really about us at all. This frees us from being automatic in our reactions and allows us to watch what comes up in our minds. When we can do that we have the opportunity to question it rather than take it for granted, and therefore "reality."
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Soleil Levant
Posted almost 3 years ago
Is it possible for an individual to be without ethnocentrism?
I was born to a highly ethnocentric French mother and a Californian progressive Father who had spent his childhood being moved around from the US, to Norway, France and Spain. When I was 2 1/2 yrs old, my father got a scholarship to UC Berkeley, because we were very poor we lived in the low-income student housing project called "the Village." It was a incredibly multicultural environment, my friends and their families came from all over the world. In preschool and kindergarten my closest friends and their families came directly from Nigeria, Bangladesh, China, and Korea. There were few poor white Americans (like us), and many more African Americans, which is yet another cultural distinction. My mother often voiced all of these distinctions, everything that wasn't French, the "normal" way, the way things should be, the better way. My father had yet another "world" and way, as did everyone I new. The juxtaposition was so clear: no one I knew had a uniform defined way of viewing and experiencing reality. Out there in the rest of the US there was yet another cultural interpretation of reality. None of these were 100% congruent. So, as a child I realized that there is no such one right view, from what I could see everyone had a different one. Growing up in The Village and having a foreign mother I realize that people from different cultures have different perceptual frameworks through which they interpret and experience the world, and that subjective definitions of events are relative and often determined by these frameworks. Many know their own as “reality,” not ever seeing it for what it is, and the perceptual frameworks of those from other cultures as wrong or distorted, something they can’t truly understand. I feel incredibly grateful for my diverse upbringing that I am able to see these distinctions. I think it's possible but very rare to be able to see around our own cultural frameworks, because the "seeing" itself is defined by that framework. It's a catch
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Soleil Levant
Posted over 4 years ago
Hanna Rosin: New data on the rise of women
And lastly....really really lastly ;)...when I said: " By that "logic" then since it doesn't say "Charles Medlock exists" in the bible, your observation and the observation by others that you exist is totally invalid, and therefore should be deemed as evil, and as an illusion created by the Devil to lead us astray.." It was meant to sound extreme and ridiculous, for just as it sounds obviously flawed to say that, your arguments invalidating our experience, and that of many others because it seems to "disagree" with the bible based on the way you interpret it, sounds equally absurd to us. It's simply a point of reflection. I hope you can understand that, it's not malicious.
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Soleil Levant
Posted over 4 years ago
Hanna Rosin: New data on the rise of women
Uhhh...really? Hey everyone, yes we don't like what people say sometimes, and we "thumbs down" it, but hey going down the line and just thumbs downing every comment someone makes indiscriminately just to "get back at them" is just hateful, and petty, which someone did.. =(. If you're really thumbs downing the removal of someone hacking and spamming TED, please consider how disruptive it would be, if the comments were full of half page shopping ads for websites? Though I doubt that's the case. Lets keep things within reason, I'm not perfectly PC in every reply, so it's clear I'm not on a high horse, but lets at least do our best to be civil. Peace.
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Soleil Levant
Posted over 4 years ago
Hanna Rosin: New data on the rise of women
Note: I can't believe someone gave me a thumbs down on this comment!? They must have misunderstood my genuine gratitude, or just been bitter and mean, I find that disappointing, oh well. Thanks for the comment Tim! Right back atcha, no worries! None of this is personal, we totally agree on somethings and disagree on others, but learn about ourselves, others, and the world through these discussions, and I think that's great! Like my good friend says, if we agree on everything then we learn nothing. He and I debate things all the time! He's an atheist existentialist that takes the extreme scientific perspective, needless to say we have passionate discussions, where sometimes we just hug and agree to disagree. BTW, I'm totally there with you on poetry being able to capture a "truth" about life that science, will likely never touch. Best Wishes, Soleil
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Soleil Levant
Posted over 4 years ago
Hanna Rosin: New data on the rise of women
"I think this just shows the "rise" of women within the patriarchal system called capitalism. It doesn't prove to me that human beings as a whole are more equal." Totally agree! I hope to live in a world of true equality and balance before I die, that would be truly beautiful!
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Soleil Levant
Posted over 4 years ago
Hanna Rosin: New data on the rise of women
It's been GREAT discussing with ALL of you. Challenging perspectives, inspiring me to look things up, explore my beliefs, question my perspective, getting clear about what I want the future we're stepping into to be like. At one point I even got a headache from thinking so much-lol. You've all been reminding me about the "big-ness" of the world (sometimes it feels so small) and yet while we can connect so quickly and easily from all over the world our current experiences are/or can be, vastly different, I love all these perspectives, even the ones i disagree with, perhaps esp those! As they challenge me to become more clear about who I am, and the kind of person I want to be. May we all take part in creating a world with equality and freedom (of lifestyle and belief, wink at Charles), for ALL people, regardless of gender, race, income, sexual preference or any other thing people use as a reason to dehumanize others. Best Wishes to all of you!..if it applies: Happy Holidays! ;) Soleil
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Soleil Levant
Posted over 4 years ago
Hanna Rosin: New data on the rise of women
I appreciate you point Steve, I don't feel I'm arguing but simply pointing at something, I realize it's futile, and I'm moving on, I suppose even though I realize that my approach is unlikely to reach Charles, in any way, but you know they say, even the tiniest crack, still lets in the light. @Charles, I understand why you don't like my comments to you, and gave me a thumbs down on every one of them, I appreciate your perspective, my delivery wasn't gentle, and that this is very emotional for you, that you have your entire life, personal validity, and sense of OK-ness/security, intimately entangled with the ideas and concepts you hold to be true in regards to your religion. The thing is, I do have the truth the light and the way, within me, ALL people have access to that from within. I don't need your agreement, your version of god, your belief in heaven and hell, or to "be saved", to be at peace, to be love, to be one with the glory of all that is, and that my friend is Heaven..