Tuesday, February 27, 2007

the front - and backside of more interactivity?

with more interactivity between people there may be the lurking temptation to remain more self-centered in the sense that there will always be someone to correct errors through interaction with each other. and if someone desires to act completely differently from the overall consensus what can happen?

Friday, February 23, 2007

handshakes / body contact

in Alexandria, frequent handshakes and body contact like brotherly hugs were very common, at least among men, and certainly once if we'd know each other. friends and acquaintances expect to at least be greeted clearly, if there is any time at all move toward each other and shake hands for hello, on confirming decisions together (e.g. appointments etc.) saying thank you, or goodbye.

towards the end of our stay I realized that my own handshakes were always firm and vigorous. then I realized that because of this I was actually missing the body-movement information that the other person would communicate to me rather directly through the handshake. a few times towards the end of our journey I gave more physical awareness to how the handshake would go (as in a contact-improvisation dance, or when I do the body-sensory-based movement training Kinetic Awareness™)

now back in Rotterdam, I fortunately remembered again at another occasion, and hey the person I'd been introduced to and whose hand I had shaken habitually/vigorously, offered me his hand again to say goodbye, and this time I got it right and in time in the moment that we shook hands I'd try to open my sensation to how his energy felt, to how he might be feeling, just while in contact. it felt much better, and we actually got to shake hands a third time, as we'd found something more to discuss /say :-)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

back to home...

when we came back to Zurich and Amsterdam airports, it was cold and raining, and the people there were so much more isolated. already on the plane, i believe we all could feel it very clearly. it made me feel much less secure and I immediately missed Alexandria for that nice atmosphere of all being together in the same place and time, even if everyone still went about doing his/her own business, but I felt a stronger sense of connection there.

to me it felt a more like an extended safety net, with all positive and negative consequences. in Holland there is almost no real safety net on the streets, everyone is for themselves and for me as a native Hungarian that always hurts (however in Budapest where most of my family lives, I believe this isolation has also spread a lot in the recent years, as if it was the prize for being "Western").

so when I was at the train station in Rotterdam and waited for my tram to bring me home, it was much more of a threat to me when it didn't come as scheduled but much later, when it should already have come by twice. I felt much more exposed, in the pouring rain, and I believe that I could sense the completely blank non-awareness of the people in the other trams that came by. just totally not aware of someone else, almost like machines...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

bargaining about the price

while I could find it a nuisance and an excellent opportunity for rip-off, it was rather easy for me to adapt to the custom of bargaining about the price of anything one would like to buy.

I am getting to like this open-ended way of dealing with resources.

it means to me that the involved parties get to an agreement together: what does one want / need to have in exchange for the item, what is the other willing / able to give? one person may not be able to give as much as another, but then someone else who is wealthier can provide more for the same kind of item another time.

in this way I find this system more fair for everyone, as it is relative on all levels: everyone according to their abilities, and: the bargain is created as a result of the interaction of two or more parties, on the base of finding a consensus.

when looking at what software costs (basically either $299,- or for free) or how wages are bargained off in my own culture there is a slight similarity for me.

such a way of trading demands involvement and virtue, because someone who has more charisma, knowledge, power, theoretically could easily get to push the other into submission, if the other has no basic price that would protect her/him from an overbearing powerful party, except to maintain one's sense of pride and walk away from the bargain in total.
but i guess it is also this continuous involvement that could keep one party from straying too far away from the other party, unless character-neuroticism gets too much in the way.

Alexandria traffic

it is very interesting for me to notice the forming of consensus in this place.

we mainly drive in taxis and small busses along the Avenue Corniche, a beautiful promenade along the coastline, which has four lanes in both directions, separated by a small wall that is interrupted at certain spots if one wants to turn around. The style of driving is very adventurous, even in the perception of the locals (and they say it's nothing compared to Cairo...) however it is very possible to cross the street at any place, because all one has to do is wait respectfully for the next opportunity to walk a little further, while cars race along in front and behind oneself and make a way the best they can. not many people do it, so there's not much frustration for the drivers, who constantly toot their horns and give signals to each other, like birds or insects, and that way help each other pass by.

everybody adapts more or less to the prescribed lanes, as a loose kind of orientation. and I get the impression that there are not many car accidents, as everybody sort of feels their way along each other, always alert, multiple. very little seems to go wrong in terms of car damage or casualties.

* * *

it is very easy for people here to help each other out in public space, and everybody is attendant to anyone present, immediately sensing any eye-contact.
taxi drivers consult each other easily if they don't understand where we want to go. speaking English happens in a very similar way, collectively, each complementing the other.

> what is it about?

this blog started as a series of thoughts I got while being on a tour with the Dutch dance group vloeistof (liquid matter) at the i-act-forum in Alexandria, Egypt.

eventually they are becoming so many that I've decided to start this separate blog and link to it.
writing these impressions and thoughts down may clarify more for me and perhaps others interested to read them. as it has been my first time in an Arabic / Middle Eastern country one can see it as a first tentative move towards understanding. please remember you are still talking to a toddler here, these posts will be my baby-steps :-)

the central issue for me is to place my thoughts in the perspective of con.sens.us: how does what I experience relate to my views about con.sens.us as I've developed them so far in "the West"? the central question would be: how does this society deal with con.sens.us?

any comments are cordially invited!