We should not take ourselves that seriously. None of us are perfect, and there is no one who can claim righteousness. In these fallen times, we may be called wise, we may have foresight, or we may be called fools. Pattern recognition is useful, and people from your tribe can easily spot what kind of person you are.
I was once flying back to Sydney from Bangladesh and the flight was delayed by twelve hours – a common occurrence in those parts. The airline put us up in a nice hotel by the airport, twin-share. I was travelling alone.
An Aussie guy spotted me and suggested we share because he didn’t want to spend the night with ‘some random Bangladeshi.’ I looked him up and down, decided he was alright and agreed.
The night passed without incident.
I was younger and more pious then, so I thought we’d been a bit racist. Now that I’m older, I can see why it made sense.
When I see an Aussie, I can sum him up at a glance with a very high degree of accuracy. Toffy Poms sometimes complain that they can’t ‘place’ Australians in terms of class because we all speak the same, but we can tell who’s who.
This is true for all nations. Having grown up together, we become adept at instantly spotting who’s cool, who’s a bogan, who’s a wanker, who’s a top bloke to have a drink with but not someone to lend money, etc. We have to learn this. It’s a basic social skill.Nikolai Vladovostik
True. In New Zealand, which is smaller, we can extend it to one or two communities — despite the elite who try to divide us, most Pakeha can suss out what kind of bloke a Maori is, and vice versa. Today’s poem shows the downside.
You are known in your tribe, and your fame does not matter. What matters is who you are.
“Hal O’ the Draft”–Puck of Pook’s Hill
Prophets have honour all over the Earth,
Except in the village where they were born,
Where such as knew them boys from birth
Nature-ally hold ’em in scorn.
When Prophets are naughty and young and vain,
They make a won’erful grievance of it;
(You can see by their writings how they complain),
But 0, ’tis won’erful good for the Prophet!
There’s nothing Nineveh Town can give
(Nor being swallowed by whales between),
Makes up for the place where a man’s folk live,
Which don’t care nothing what he has been.
He might ha’ been that, or he might ha’ been this,
But they love and they hate him for what he is.Rudyard Kipling