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Showing posts with label Shared Human Experience. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shared Human Experience. Show all posts

Thursday, September 28, 2023

The Post-Soviet Russian Household: A Study in Transformation

 The Post-Soviet Russian Household: A Study in Transformation paints a vivid picture of the world's ever-changing private sphere, illuminated by the shifting perspectives of culture, politics, and global dynamics. This blog untangles the complex threads of the intimate lives led behind closed doors across the world—starting from the tundra of Siberia to the arid plains of Africa, to the bustling cities of Asia. Welcome to a voyage through the often unseen yet profoundly significant aspect of our shared human experience.


From the dissolution of the USSR in 1991 to today, Russian households have faced a dramatic shift. To understand this phenomenon is to open a window to humanity's broadest hopes and fears. Think of W.E.B. Du Bois's concept of "double consciousness," where one navigates multiple social identities. This concept finds resonance globally as families juggle traditional roots and modern demands, especially stark in post-Soviet Russia where families adapted rapidly from communism to capitalism.

The wisdom encapsulated in the Yoruba proverb, "Charity begins at home," echoes in Russian homes as much as it does in African ones. It tells us that the values we learn in the cocoon of our home shape us and, by extension, society. Values like resilience and adaptability found in the Russian household also reverberate from the teachings of Confucianism in China to the stoic philosophers of ancient Greece.

The habit of family mealtime is one that unites households worldwide. This daily ritual has unique flavors across different cultures, but the essence remains the same: a moment of pause, reflection, and togetherness. In Russia, this act has become deeply emotional as many recall the communal meals of the past, rife with collective hopes and tragedies. Imagine laughing so hard your drink comes out of your nose. That moment captures something raw and genuine—a family's resilience in the face of adversity, huddled around their humble dinner table.

Our story moves beyond numbers and statistics to the very essence of human lives. Take Vera, a 60-year-old Russian woman, who tells tales of communal apartments during the Soviet era, nostalgia laced with irony. Contrast her with Natasha, a Gen-Z entrepreneur who's never lived in a non-digital world. Vera and Natasha represent the complex, multi-faceted dynamic of a post-Soviet household: one foot rooted in the past's complex ideologies, the other striding towards a future teetering between apprehension and hope.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

From Bushido to Chivalry: How Codes of Honor Influence Private Lives

In a world that often seems increasingly divided, we look to our private lives to understand our common humanity. Within these intimate spheres, transcendent codes of honor serve as an invisible hand guiding actions and shaping societal norms. Join me as we embark on a journey that spans continents, traversing the hidden corridors of history, from the samurai codes of Bushido in Japan to the knights' chivalry in Europe, and unravel the shared threads that bind us all.

As dusk settles over ancient Kyoto, a samurai readies his sword, living by the Bushido code that shapes not just his life, but the lives of his family and community. Meanwhile, miles away in the fortresses of Medieval Europe, a knight polishes his armor, guided by an unspoken yet deeply understood code of chivalry. Although separated by continents and centuries, both individuals are united by something universal—a code of honor that deeply influences their private lives. It's as W.E.B. Du Bois suggests, the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the "color line," and what lies beneath it is the shared norms that govern us all.

"Unity is strength, division is weakness," goes an African proverb. Whether it's the Confucian emphasis on familial respect or Socratic discussions on the nature of justice, these codes of honor find their root in ancient wisdom that remains remarkably consistent across cultures. These timeless guidelines influence everything from the way we engage in relationships, attend to familial duties, or even the small day-to-day decisions that ultimately define who we are.

Imagine being in a packed subway train in Tokyo. You'll notice everyone lowers their phones to not disturb others—a nod to modern Bushido. In contrast, a man in New York holds a door for a stranger, a simple act fueled by the chivalric code. These tiny acts, often taken for granted, resonate with a global audience as they reflect the values we hold dear in our private lives.

Humor me for a second. What if knights had stand-up comedy? They'd probably jest about the challenges of rescuing damsels in distress. And don't get me started on what a samurai's comedy special on Netflix would look like. But jokes aside, these codes bring a level of emotional gravitas into our lives, capturing the same raw essence that makes humor such an essential societal commentary tool.

Drawing upon this rich tapestry of human experience, we realize that the idea of private lives guided by codes of honor isn't unique to any single culture or historical period. It's a collective tale weaved by different voices, from the philosophical ponderings of Confucius to the urgent social commentaries of Cornel West. These codes of honor, whether it's Bushido or chivalry, act as a universal compass that transcends linguistic, racial, and national boundaries.