From Alabama to New York, The Superficial Differences and Uniting Commonalities From Alabama to New York, The Superficial Differences and Uniting Commonalities
Design

From Alabama to New York, The Superficial Differences and Uniting Commonalities

by Rachel Dixon

February 10, 2014

Yet, ultimately, we have to remember that what motivates and unites us is ultimately the same.

Love, Acceptance and Self-Fulfillment

Upon further reflection, the aforementioned differences are merely superficial observations. At the Design for Social Innovation (DSI) program at SVA, we are encouraged to dig deeper and draw overarching conclusions from observations such as these. We are pushed to view the “big picture” rather than getting bogged down in the details. We are taught to uncover the true motivations and needs that lie at the heart of cultures and to view them as intricate interconnected systems. At DSI, we have also been taught that at the very core, all people want the same things, and thus all actions are motivated by these essential needs: love, acceptance and self-fulfillment.

With this in mind, my response to what makes living in the Deep South so much different from New York City shifts. The next time I am asked, I will respond that living in Alabama is not so very different from living here. After all, we are all striving to attain the same needs. We are simply taking different approaches to arrive at the same ultimate destination. When viewed through this lens, you can find common ground with any person or culture you may come across. Forming the habit of searching for the common needs and motivations, rather than surface differences proves to be a transformative personal experience, and even larger than that, is the first vital step in engendering sustainable positive change in the world.

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From Alabama to New York, The Superficial Differences and Uniting Commonalities