Video: The Surprising Need For Strangeness – Maria Bezaitis

In my time living in Kuwait and as a general observation in the extended Middle East, I have noticed that people are afraid of strangers.  Since our childhood, one of the many overarching lessons we are taught is the one that warns of the dangers of talking to strangers.  Never talk to strangers.  I remember my mother telling me more than once when I was a young girl, “never ever speak to strangers, no matter what.”  I understand the concern, with strangers, and even more so with children and strangers, but the probability of all these concerns to pan out, ingrained in our heads for quite some time has really hindered our capability to take advantage of a situation which has some element of the unknown;  learning from strangers.   Things were different when we were younger, as we grow we can deal with much more, and a proper outlook should allow us to not only have the ability to interact with a non-commoner, but also to extract value from this encounter.  Coming back to Kuwait, the majority of people here turn hostile and excitable when it comes to the idea of strangeness.  The excitement skews towards anxiety subject to a lack of understanding as to what to do, which leads to some awkward random moments.  I think it matters as human beings to interact with one other because we are inherently social beings and these small interactions can have an impact on our lives, no matter how menial or life altering they may be. But it is not only about meeting strangers, as Maria Bezaitis explains;” Strangeness is not about meeting strangers. It simply makes the point that we need to disrupt our zones of familiarity.” Technology has a huge impact on how we interact with each other now, but at the end of the day, we are interacting through many filters.  We need to deconstruct this notion embedded in us, the danger of strangers, and try to be kind to one another no matter how familiar they may be, and further, what ethnicity, sex, nationality and background they are. Being nice is easy, but talking to strangers? Enjoy