An Ode to Difference
Is there a concept more beautiful and worthy of praise than difference? Difference breeds competition, giving the opportunity for people to prove their own uniqueness. Without difference there would be no Olympic Games, and no Taco Bell in the USA or McDonald’s in Asia. Difference allows for a new perspective, looking outside of the rose-colored view of sameness. This is where the fire of progress and innovation are birthed. We look up to those who are different the Michael Jordans, the Beyonces, and the Albert Einsteins of the world. Difference allows us to better experience and appreciate the world around us, giving us a break from the mundane when we travel. Difference is not something to be scared of, but rather something to embrace. It not only leads us towards tolerance but gives us a chance to look into ourselves and reflect on what makes us us.
I chose to do an Encomium on difference because Pico Iyer again touches on cultural differences and exchange in The Foreign Spell, where he explores the concept of foreignness. Iyer believes him being foreign is a gift claiming that “As some are born with the blessing of beauty or a musical gift, as some can run very fast without seeming to try, so I was given from birth, I felt, the benefit of being on intimate terms with outsiderdom.” Iyer’s writing itself seems to be an encomium as he notes while others are quick to scorn difference and being an outsider, he believes for it to be an asset and something he cherishes.