“I never look forward to explaining that different cultures can think in different ways, that language does not necessarily bear concepts universal from one people to the next.
There is an assumption by too many individuals (many of whom, tragically, are policy makers) that the concepts held by their own culture automatically exist in others.
…Just as the immeasurable combinations of wind, pressure, temperature, and density ensure that each flake of snow is unlike another, so the infinitude of life events ensure that no soul – no thought or experience – is exactly alike to another.
Imagine, then, the greater gulfs existent from culture to culture, as spawned by environments of lethal extremes – such as the Arctic evolution that has crafted Inuit mind and body since the ages when glaciers caressed the world's temperate regions.
The true world of the Inuit ancestors – the realm of safety, joy, warmth – was the family. There was no variety of experiences in the Inuit world to compare to the intricacies of fellow human minds.
Consequently, the Inuit identification of the range of human feelings exceeds even that of modern psychology, so that Inuktitut today contains dozens of unique terms for emotions not immediately recognized by other cultures“.
By RACHEL ATTITUQ QITSUALIK, writer, Inuit culturologist
black ink, brown ink, watercolour, gold leaf