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Post details: World According To Stereo

World According To Stereo

There is a reason why we have two eyes and two ears. They furnish our perception with an extra dimension. Not only they widen our field of audio-visual ogling, but they also create a stereoscopic illusion by blending two slightly different sets of sensory input together. Thanks to them we can enjoy the world in all its three dimensional splendor and dolby surround sound. Thanks to them we can appreciate perspective and tell which direction a dog is barking from - a bit of information that can be a life saver, particularly if you are a postman or a cat that has already died eight times.

I spend most of my time in the United State, but I pay a biannual visit to the Czech Republic to inspect the cobwebs of my youth. While foreign travel is usually associated with a transition from the familiar to the unfamiliar, arriving in Prague airport always plucks me from one familiar environment and dumps me into another one which is even more familiar. In a sense, it feels like living two lives separately - hanging out with two different sets of friends, dressing thoughts in two familiar languages, wasting money in two familiar currencies, heartily cursing two sets of familiar politicians.

But the best part of this mildly splitting life style is watching the world from two very different vantage points. No matter what the event is, whether the doping scandal at the last Olympics, Paris Hilton's dressing habits, or a war du jour in the Middle East, there are always different lens through which you can view it. Reading New York Times is a very different experience than reading Lidove Noviny. You get almost opposite extremes in your viewing angle. One is that of a major superpower whose shored are washed by two oceans and one comes from a negligible landlocked country somewhere in the middle of Europe. Together they form a nearly perfect holographic image of a lavish planet haphazardly roamed by six billion biological paradoxes.

In the old days of Austro Hungarian empire, back when Albert Einstein was still merely a curious schoolboy, apprentices were often sent "into the world" to interact with different ethnic groups and experience other folklore and mores, to discover for themselves that crucial postulate of the Theory of Cultural Relativity: one nation's glower may be another nation's smile. I think it would be helpful to the well being of our society if all young people had the opportunity (whether as students or apprentices) to live for a year or two in a foreign country. It would give their schooling an extra depth and with it a few ounces of a much needed tolerance for their personalities.

We have just wasted untold billions of dollars bailing out some old filthy rich dudes. Spending a few more on international stipends for our youth would pay for itself sooner than you could say AIG.


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