This question has been on my mind for a long time. Does like really follow like? And if so, are we doomed forever to homogeneity? The old systems of order, around land, family, faith, class, tradition have given way. They've been replaced, some would say, by a new order based on individual choice. While we may have created our own "individual" categories or subcultures to belong to, these like-minded homogeneous groups are very strong, and can grow more extreme in their thinking, discouraging dissent and open dialogue.
When I was in elementary school, Grade 4 I think, I remember our teacher showing us a film about a group of students in California who couldn't understand how Nazi Germany flourished in WWII. The film was horrifying and illuminating. It showed how something as simple as a secret handshake can grow into an almost impenetrable subculture. It becomes a giant feedback loop, where we hear our own thoughts bounced back to us about what is right and wrong.
Perhaps naively, I really hope these individual categories and subcultures that we are all creating can develop ways to look across the lines and through various lens at each other's perspectives. If we can do that I believe a whole world will open up for each of us.
On tonight's news there was shock and horror that President Obama would even consider bowing upon meeting the Saudi King. I failed to see what the fuss was all about. So what if they are actually peers on the world stage? His gesture, which I am saddened to see his team now backpedaling to deflect, was one of a person showing up in another country and showing respect to that country's culture. Big deal. Does that make him weak? Or less of a leader? I can't see why. But if we come from the perspective that he is the leader of the free world, and that said free world is predominant over all, then you can see why many folks are horrified.
Like follows like.
Maybe the deal is we need to drop "like" all together, and just "be"?