I’ve had the unexpected good fortune to travel, a lot, actually—all over the world. (That reminds me, I need to update my list of countries to which I have been! Check out the list, it’s #23 on this page.) And in every place I have visited, the people have all been very nice, kind, and helpful even when they don’t speak English or have been our enemies in bitter and protracted wars against us.
I’m not exactly certain what this quotation means, at its very bones, but it unsettles me because I have experienced its truth firsthand.
I often find that any organization or system or way of being (even religious practice) frequently becomes something other than what it intends on a more individual, personal level by those who make up the very organization, system or collective. And the people in it are powerless to shape, influence, and certainly control this apparently invisible destiny. Rules and objectives become hard and fast and serve the will of only a few with influence, power, and money.
How is this ever corrected?
In case you want to pass this along as text:
The world is not divided between East and West. You are American; I am Iranian. We don’t know each other, but we talk and we understand each other perfectly. The difference between you and your government is much bigger than the difference between you and me. And the difference between me and my government is much bigger than the difference between you and me. And our governments are very much the same.”
—Marjane Satrapi, Iranian Novelist