February 17, 2019

Food for Thought

Although I appreciate the variety of authentic cuisines available in NYC, personally, I’m not interested in mastering any particular one. I admire chefs who perfect their skills, but I know I’m driven towards something else. We can admire others without wishing to be like them.

The people I personally relate to aren’t skilled at anything. What draws me to them is that they see the world in fundamentally different ways. Being interested in different ways of seeing is not the same as being interested in a particular style, genre, or cuisine. For instance, sushi masters who moved from Japan to New York do not necessarily have a different way of seeing. They simply see New York and whatever happens around them from the Japanese perspective. Most people take with them whatever ways they have learned to see no matter where they go.

Often I find that people who are focused on skills, don’t care much about the different ways of seeing, and those who are focused on different ways of seeing don’t care much about skills. It’s as if they take away from each other. This makes sense to some degree. A skill is a cultural game. A highly valued skill in one culture may be useless in another—language being the most obvious example. To appreciate a skill, you need to always put it in a specific cultural context. Someone interested in different ways of seeing is perpetually trying to get out of his own culture. That is, the former is striving to be OF the culture whereas the latter is striving to be OUT OF it.

Given that I’m already straddling between two cultures, it doesn’t interest me to be OF any particular culture or language, although I appreciate others who are masters of their own cultures. My interest lies beyond cultures, languages, and skills, but I don’t know what to call it other than “different ways of seeing”

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