There are many cultural offerings, much religious heritage, that travel from one culture to the other. This is the nature of cultural community, this perpetual cross-fertilization of peoples and ideas. The borders between races, nations and peoples are not etched in stark lines. They are laid in shades and tints.
Yet, there is borrowing, and then there is amnesia. We must find, retain, a certain unapologetic rootedness, even in the rout and Atlantis-like swamping of nations in the geographies of the mind.
The core of this rootedness is the Mirror Test of Identity Relations. What is this test? It is simple: whenever we borrow observances across cultures – be they cultural, religious, economic or social, we must be able to – having dressed and decked ourselves out in the threads of the borrowed norms – still recognise ourselves in the mirror.
In short words, post-change, the person within should be able to look in the mirror and see himself looking back – in new clothes, make-up, and haircut perhaps, but himself, nonetheless. He should not see a stranger with only a fleeting resemblance to the old self.
– Unless that was the object, all along.
There is nothing wrong with that, of course. The right of peoples to retain their identity, their languages, their clothes, is defined by the right of peoples to yeild them voluntarily. But we should be aware of the process – which sometimes does creep up on us. We must sapiently embark upon it, and not wake up on some Sunday morning and find a perfect stranger staring at us from the mirror of our morning ablutions.