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About Through the Eyes of Others

Since the very beginning, human history has been marked by exchanges of all sorts among regions and cultures – trade and commerce, migrations, technological borrowings, artistic influences, and the ebb and flow of ideas of all sorts: religious, political, and philosophical. In today’s world the interchange between cultural groups increases in intensity and frequency because of technological improvements in long-distance travel and communication.  Because no culture or civilization ever develops in a vacuum we are obligated to look closely at what it means to encounter the Other and to take full advantage of the insights about ourselves and our places in the world which come from such interactions. 

When we genuinely encounter otherness (culturally, religiously, socio-economically, ethnically, etc) we see for the first time what we took to be self-evident truths as contingent assumptions.  As a result, what was previously too close to be seen can be critically examined. Thus develops the irony that it is only in encountering the other that we can look clearly upon ourselves.