by Phil Bartle, PhD
Being aware of culture makes you strange
The term "strange fish" is slang for someone who is aware of culture
It comes from the proverb, "It is a strange fish that knows the existence of water."
We live within our culture, which we also carry about with us.
To be a fish is to be unaware of water.
Perhaps the fish can move through different kinds of water, such as going from a river to the ocean, like a human living in another culture, but it is still water.
A fish that jumps out of water to rid itself of lice, experiences non water briefly.
For us to be aware of culture, which is what makes us human, we need to remove ourselves from culture.
Moving from our culture that we usually live in, to an exotic or different culture, does not take us out of culture, but is just a move between different kinds (like the river and ocean, both water).
Even that makes us odd, especially if we adjust our values and behaviour.
Remember we use the sociological concept of culture, which is equivalent to the total socio-cultural system (not just art and dance), composed of everything we learn, and what gives us our humanity.
A community, for example, is a social or cultural entity, not the individuals which may compose it at any one time.
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