Yes, Youngjin, intolerance of others sucks, doesn’t it? Yet, to state the obvious, many nations have found it compelling, throughout the millennia, to do a makeover of or outright replace other people’s cultures—force-feeding, if you will, in order to ‘civilize’ or to ‘homogenize’ or to ‘make less threatening’ or to engage in some other higher-than-thou pretext. Quintessential ‘colonizing’. Fast-forward to today’s migrants, different in their own cultural right than the societies in which they find themselves, and the irresistible, self-appointed mission to acculturize continues, under the guise of assimilation. The history of disdain has not been pretty. Perhaps mutual intolerance (which is easier) should cede ground to mutual accommodation (which is harder).Taking a more literal, SETI-type tack on your cartoon: Aliens—in this instance, the ‘aliens scattered throughout the universe’ variety—have an arguably high probability of existence. The many billions of galaxies, stars, and exoplanets (especially those exoplanets circling around stars’ habitable zones) that occupy the universe allow for aliens’ presence. In light of the universe’s almost-fourteen-billion-year timeline, it’s similarly possible (likely?) that some of those extraterrestrial species began their evolution millions of years, or tens of millions of years, or hundreds of millions of years, or a billion years earlier than our species. Particularly in the outer reaches of the cosmos. The gains in the sciences (their full spectrum), technology, physical traits (robustness), cognitive functions, social paradigms, philosophy, and other dimensions would outstrip ours in literally unimaginable ways, where ‘orders-of-magnitude’ may understate the contrasts. Humbling, I would guess. What that realization would do to our self-image—reason for being, design, purpose, place in the universe, harbored notions of ‘exceptionalism’—is fun to contemplate.
I'm afraid this tale is very true! There's all sorts of prejudices one might add - 'too posh' or too 'common'; too pushy or too hesitent; too unexpected or too persistent...! Is the moral of the story that people really only want to hear their own voices?
In my experience in ministry, it is very common for people to miss the true significance of something. Someone offers a profound and moving prayer to God, for instance, but they are denigrated afterwards for praying with poor English, for wearing a political T-shirt, or for being chosen over someone else, and so on. And that applies, too, very generally in life.
To me the moral of Youngjin's cartoon seems that we long for the unknown but simultaneously cannot face our own constructions that come along in the mirror with that stranger. We long for the uncanny without the willingness to acknowledge our own strangeness. But strangeness can never become the obvious. A man that looks into the obvious to encounter strangeness will therefor never meet what he does not know, neither of Other and of himself. The encounter will never take place.