Lukas Z's Blog

Our Surroundings

The place I live in, my car, my clothes, they all tell a story about me and it’s not random. What I am is reflected in my surroundings which are influenced by my preferences.

For instance there are some things I care less about. Other things irk me and I need to fix them. Maybe I need my car to be practical and maybe my clothes send out hints about my profession.

It’s all about harmony. This will sound a bit esoteric but I feel that we all have something surrounding us that is akin to a magnetic field.

(Or, just as valid: It’s just a little metaphor that we can employ to ramble about random things on our blogs.)

When we place a magnet on top of a surface with metal filings they will arrange in a certain way. In physics class, this is how teachers make the invisible magnetic fields visible.

In a similar way, if we put a person in a place and let some time pass, the place will be transformed according to the person.

For example, if a Zen monk from Japan moved into a German home, and he remained a Zen monk, the place would probably change for the better (I’m biased.). It’s a clishee but let’s say the house would be cleaner and the garden would appear very well looked after. At the same time he would be affected by his new life in Germany. Perhaps he would start eating bread or he would begin expressing his annoyance with German trains who are embarrasingly often late. So in reality it’s an interplay. It goes both ways.

The magnetic field doesn’t just affect things. It works with everything including people. We become more like the other humans we spend the most time with and they become more like us. The latter I believe is perhaps generally underrated. We may feel that we are drifting along and that the world is pulling us in a certain direction. That we are merely sentenced to react passively. But actually we too affect the others. By expressing ourselves we make an impression on other people and change their behavior, if ever so slightly. (We always do it regardless if it’s intentional.)

Perhaps a good example is when we become parents. The child is constantly exposed to our field and cannot help but absorb it. It’s the same with our friends. Just like the mental filings in physics class, we adjust. And they do, too. This creates a shared view of life and a sense of belonging.[1]

“Expressing ourselves” seems like such a new thing though. It’s probably more of an ideal of the west and rather foreign in the east. But no matter to which hemisphere we belong, there is some sort of mainstream culture, some great story that is shared by most. So in addition to all the smaller fields there are some bigger ones, shared between members of nations or regions of the earth.

And some shared by all humans.

The more time passes the more the differences between cultures will disappear. Despite a loss of influence by mainstream media the mainstream culture seems stronger than ever. For some reason. Maybe it’s some unifying power inherent in capitalism, which influences us all. Or it’s a fear of a loss of orientation after losing the mainstream narrative.

Perhaps, eventually, some really nice patterns will emerge between all the metal filings, the people, on this big surface we call Earth.

Let’s hope that there will be enough variety left.

Like someone once said: “Imagine the traffic jams if all people liked the same thing.”


[1] But what happens if someone changes? Will there be a force that is invested in keeping him the way he was? You bet.

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