Culture and time

When I was in middle school and high school in the Philippines, all of our desks were arranged in groupings of four or five tables pushed together, or big tables that seated a group. Who you sat with was a big deal because where you sat depended on who you sat with, which sort of defined who you were. When I was in elementary school and college in the United States, desks were always separated. People sat in rows, with their own chair and their own little table and there was no grouping unless the teacher/professor asked you to gather into groups. Companionship vs. singularity. It makes me wonder just how many unnoticed factors that go into Western/Eastern upbringing shape how we all think.

Something that I never noticed before is how the concept of time and reality is affected by our education systems. This goes for both East and West schooling. Everything has an ending. In history there are dynasties, periods and eras with a beginning and ending year. Sentences have periods, paragraphs must have a closing statement and well-structured essays have conclusions. Assignments have due dates and tests have time limits.

What does that teach us about the world? What does that teach us about relationships?

I have a few never-ending projects at work right now. There are things that I’ll never be finished with and able to submit. Submitting to awards and competitions, for example, will never end. Keeping a running note of which awards our wine has gotten is never going to end. Our school systems haven’t prepared me for assignments without due dates! What is this real world phenomenon?


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