Dinner, an age-old art of bringing people together.
Humanity is constantly in competition with itself and this competition pushes individuals away rather than pulling them in. It’s that old Darwinian philosophy of survival of the fittest, which humanity interpreted to mean it must strive to be the strongest, and which we now know is wrong. Darwin’s theory emphasizes that “Life is a struggle for survival based upon competition” That competition among humans is responsible for the violence in civilization and the undermining of the ecosystem. We now know that evolution is based on cooperation. We must exchange this belief in competition for a new belief in cooperation. And let go of our need to win, and embrace a desire to share with and learn from each other. A good example of this is a beautiful dinner, in a lovely environment, enjoyed by a group of friends of various ethnicities, representing different cultures, beliefs, and generations. I recently had an opportunity to experience such an evening at Hina’s house. I’ve posted pictures here of the feast Hina prepared for us. We enjoyed an intimate immersion into HIna’s culture and her lovely home environment. Thank you, Hina and Azmet for the opportunity to reflect on the beauty of friendship.
In this picture, there are an agnostic, Catholics, Moslems, and a Jew. There are people of Indian heritage, Pakistani, Irish, White American of mixed heritages, and a Puerto Rican, Portuguese-Spaniard. We shared an evening of friendship and good conversation with fabulous food in lovely surroundings. Life is good.
Around me everywhere there are signs of a world of designed separation. People separate themselves for a multitude of reasons that each person designs for themselves. Each person in this world seems to forget that we are all sharing a living experience that no one of us can fully explain. We should remember that none of us is getting out of this life alive.
It seems to me that our psychology is wrapped in many layers of illusions and deceptions about who we are and what we are doing here. Some we inherit from historical family traditions, some we create on our own. We create them in reaction to our fears about each other and our environment. Our inception points of fear enslave us to our illusions. We feel that we must be thinner than, richer than, smarter than, the programmed icons in our minds. We waste our lives trying to reach some imaginary goal of perfection. We can’t wrap our heads around the fact that we are enough just as we are. No one else can be me but me, and no one can be you, but you. That is a very special thing to be.
HINA AND AZMET’S HOME
High on my list of absurdities is the illusion that we are separate from each other. We expend immense energy imagining reasons to justify believing in things that separate us rather than unite us. If we only would expend half of that energy in just interacting with each other, speaking to each other, getting to know each other, perhaps we would surprise ourselves at discovering our similarities and admire our differences without fearing that someone is going to win and we are going to lose some imagined position, possession, or point.
Hina’s house reflects her love of family and pride in her rich traditions.
Azmet explained that the original owners of the home were engineers from South Africa and many of the design elements in the house reflect a South African influence.
Our table and fabulous Pakistani style feast that included tunduri chicken, okra, basmati rice, and much more!
And Finally, to end the evening, Green Tea . . .