How to Walk A Mile in the Moccasins of Another

You and your friend are on the road.  Together you’ve traveled nearly 2500 miles and you’ve seen more of the country than ever before.  What an education!

Finding yourself in a coffee shop in Georgia, you discuss where to head next on your tour of the U.S., when someone at the next table says to you, “yew tawk funny.”

“I talk funny?”  You smile at the thought.

If ever there was a case of subjective point of view, this is it.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to hear the way you sound through the ears of someone you think of as having an accent?  To actually tune in on the nuance?  How about how the music you love sounds to a teen or pre-teen?  What makes a person like or dislike a certain genre?  Where does taste come from, and how is it experienced internally?  What about various forms of prejudice?  

Aside from the use of imagination, I know of no way to experience me, or the people I know, through the eyes and ears of other cultures, or even other parts of my culture.

While we’re at it, why not take it one step further (or closer), and imagine the difference between how you see yourself, and how someone who spends time with you every day sees you?  Do you think, if it were possible to do an in-depth study, both experiences would be the same?  I doubt it.

As a writer you have the opportunity to explore and express many ideas, points of view, ways of thinking.  Perhaps the best we can do in this instance is to closely and cleverly imagine what it would be like to look at ourselves from other’s eyes, or to hear us with other’s ears.

Today’s challenge is to make up a description of you through the eyes of another.  It may be complementary, it may not, but you should look for as honest an assessment as possible.  Imagine what it is like for someone who is not you to experience the being that is you.\

This may be the trickiest challenge we have faced in this series.

Your thoughts?


3 responses to “How to Walk A Mile in the Moccasins of Another

  1. It’s a concept I’ve grappled with for a long time and attempted to address through a few poems. One of the reasons I don’t record my poetry is because of my ‘real’ accent; my writing voice is UK English, but in the physical world I sound truly Saffrican.
    But I’ll try this challenge again, thanks Rik.

  2. She’s an egotist. All tied up in her philosophy, thinking that she knows everything. She hasn’t an idea of what happiness is, and that is she were only happy, then she would be a better person, and have all of that truth and freedom that she is searching for. It’s because she hasn’t found the spirit. She lives in the ego self. She hasn’t found her true self which is Spirit. She should follow more closely my blogs and quit swearing at me and stop being the egotist that she is.
    All you have to do is listen to hear what other people think of you. Not hard to follow at all, grin grin.

  3. Imagine what it is like for someone who is not you to experience the being that is you.
    Better to imagine what it is like to be a being that is not you. It would be a less-selfish or self-oriented approach to knowing ‘personally’ in the sense of knowing God, i.e. a person who is an ‘other’. There is a reason to my madness that prompts me to continue my study of philosophies. What we say of another, generally, but reflects our own limitations.

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