The boys and I have really enjoyed the amount of time we get to spend while homeschooling learning about other cultures - not only from a text book or a museum, but from speaking to others, listening to them, and opening ourselves up to how we are the same and different. Appreciating our common humanity and celebrating how we see things differently is one of the most beautiful things about meeting new people. We went to the Grand River Pow Wow this morning and were awed by the beautiful costumes, drumming, dances, and singing. The kids explored the vendor booths, asking lots of questions about the crafts they found. They were intrigued by the idea of a medicine bag (something I hope to make with them soon) and each bought a braid of sweet grass to take home, sniffing it all the way. It was wonderful to have the values of respect, honour, integrity, wisdom, and spirituality that we have been learning about echoed in the dances that we saw - honoring the veterans, the elders, the visitors to the Powwow, and the children who are being raised to carry on the values and traditions of the culture.
What sets worlds in motion is the interplay of differences, their attractions and repulsions. Life is plurality, death is uniformity. By suppressing differences and pecularities, by eliminating different civilizations and cultures, progress weakens life and favors death. The ideal of a single civilization for everyone, implicit in the cult of progress and technique, impoverishes and mutilates us. Every view of the world that becomes extinct, every culture that disappears, diminishes a possibility of life.