The Same but Different

The Same but Different

The two times I've gone to Europe I have come to realize things there are the same as they are in the USA but also different. 

It is kind of pointless to list the minor differences between France and the USA or Italy and the USA.  Everyone who has gone to Europe can easily recognize these minor differences in everyday life. 

But a couple of things happened on my recent trip that I want to quickly highlight in this blog post. 

The first is that on March 1 the Vatican held a symposium called "MAN-WOMAN: IMAGE OF GOD. TOWARDS AN ANTHROPOLOGY OF VOCATIONS" 

Pope Francis's statement to the conference highlighted the need to recognize and be okay with the differences between each other and especially between man and woman.  In a world that is trying to make everyone the same, it is our differences that make us an individual person.  Every parent of more than 1 child understands that even though they may have been created by doing the same thing with the same person, each of their children are different from the other, each person is unique and an individual.  Men and Women are the same but different in a similar kind of way. 

"But I would like to highlight something: it is very important for there to be this encounter, this encounter between men and women, because today the worst danger is gender ideology, which cancels out differences. I asked for studies to be made on this ugly ideology of our time, which erases differences and makes everything the same; to erase difference is to erase humanity. Man and woman, on the other hand, stand in fruitful “tension”" Pope Francis

I also chatted with a chemist on my train ride back from Venice.  His job is to study the science of things and make recommendations to companies and governments about what is the best practices for regulations and the like.  For example, he would study plastics and the harmful effects plastics have and make recommendations about banning BPA's.  Along the ride back to Rome I mentioned how California has banned plastic bags but other places have not, and how it is difficult to try to make regulations that apply to an industry and realize these regulations are mostly local and are different everywhere. 

Upon returning home from Rome I began thinking about this dichotomy, the push a globalized capitalist world has on people to make everyone the same, and the pull we all struggle with in maintaining our individuality in a world that at times seems hell bent on categorizing us as into a group forming a generalization and making people the same.  This Ying and Yang can be out of balance and cause displeasure in our psychology at times.

One news story I remember watching before I went to Italy was a 60 minutes story about the Chinese economy that featured the American Ambassador.  The piece highlighted an American company that was opening a new factory in China, the company is a multi billion dollar company I've never heard of that makes one of the most mundane things imaginable.  Plastic bottles for the health and beauty industry.

My conversation with the chemist got me thinking about self care routines and how psychology suffers from the same problems of capitalism at times.  The tendency to offer the same psychology advice to different people.  It is kind of a practice that is trying to help people with problems become more focused and sane.  Often times this includes having a good self care routine.  Then again people are different, therapists and psychologists understand that they can tell two different people the same piece of advice and have both people find it helpful but in different ways.  Mental Health is not like being a mechanic or a surgeon where the anatomy of something is generally the same regardless of the car or person.  

But self care is one of these psychological pieces of advice that works for pretty much everybody even if everybody's self care routine has a different set of lotions and products that are a personal preference.  Each individual's self care routine is personal.

But apparently all of those lotions and shower gel bottles are all made from one company if I would to take what I saw in the 60 minutes piece as true.  Why is that?

 My guess is that a large company that sells products internationally all over the world, also has to deal with different regulations.  For example the FDA in America might have a stricter set of regulations for the quality of plastics that make up or lotion could be in then somewhere in Southeast Asia.  This is because the FDA probably has stricter regulations and studies about the dangers of low quality plastics, they do not want Americans developing cancer from the plastic that seeps into the lotion they apply to their skin everyday.  So they have strong regulations and high standards that companies have to adhere too. 

So if you are an international company like Sephora, Walmart, Costco, Cetiphil, Johnson and Johnson.  It is probably easier to just purchase high quality bottles from a company with high standards and then fill it with your product and sell it wherever, this way you don't have to worry about different countries having different regulations because your container meets extremely high standards.  This company 60 minutes highlighted is that company that makes high quality plastics for health and beauty industry. 

From this point of view, it is a good thing that there is a push to make things the same, because by making it the same you can produce a higher quality product at a lower cost.  Just imagine the mess it would be if every company had a different type of container they used for lotion or shower gel.  There's kind of only a half dozen different kinds of designs for the containers that hold all the thousands of different health and beauty products. 

Any way I think Pope Francis was trying to make a more important point about society and capitalism.  There are very serious issues and problems that are much more complicated then recognizing that everybody has a self care routine that is personal and different from another person and uses similar but different products that are in similar but different bottles all made by a single company. 

But I've already addressed those issues at nozium on my Youtube page and in my books.  You can check those out if you want to know more of my thoughts on this issue.  

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