Greetings Earthlings

No, I did not spend my entire weekend watching cheesy science fiction movies from the 1950’s!  Although there is a lot to be said for classics like “Angry Red Planet” and “Zombies of the Stratosphere.”  The plots were always intriguing and the acting was consistently Oscar quality.  The special effects were unparalleled and the costuming impeccable. 

Setting aside my steady dose of sarcasm; there was one element of these classic films that always held special appeal for me.  If the aliens were not hell-bent on obliterating the human race; they were instead trying to save us from ourselves.  They always had some quaint greeting for the mere humans that they encountered.  It came in one of two special forms; carefully chosen words or a universal gesture of love and peace.  In the 1960’s, this concept evolved into both word and gesture.  Picture Mister Spock parting his four fingers and uttering, “Live long and prosper!”

As a blogger, I have been fortunate to gain a dedicated audience of over 2,500 regular readers.  These individuals come from over 40 countries around the world.  Every now and then I will receive a response to one of my posts that really hits home.  Recently, a young Hindu woman commented on one of my posts.  She ended her brief note of appreciation with the word “Namaste.”  There are two commonly accepted meanings for this powerful word.  “The spirit in me respects the spirit in you” is one interpretation.  The second is “The Divinity in me bows to the Divinity in you!”  Either choice is simply beautiful!

My newfound Hindu friend had taken note of a comment left by a gentleman from the Arab world.  She wanted to reach out to him and asked me if I knew of an appropriate Arabic greeting to use.  Having conducted a fair amount of business in that part of the world; I was happy to be of assistance.  I suggested the use of “As-salaam ‘alaykum’ which would be responded to with the words “Wa ‘alaykum salaam.”  Respectively, the two phrases mean “Peace be upon you” and “Upon you be peace.”

As I sent my response, I pondered the possibility of a universal greeting that could be used by all of the Earth’s people.  It had to be a phrase that transcended the over 3,000 languages and dialects that are currently in use.  The greeting and response had to hold meaning for the nearly seven billion individuals living on the planet.  Two thirds of the world identifies with one of three religious groupings, but they are so diverse that I could not side with one over the other.  The growing puzzle was now nagging at me.

The dilemma continued to eat away at me as my head hit the pillow.  It was not long before I drifted off into a deep sleep; my mind invaded by dreams where writers are more highly revered than professional athletes.  Did I also mention better paid?  In the morning, I awoke with a clear answer to the prior night’s challenge.

Picture two individuals from different parts of the world.  They do not share a common language, they come from opposite ethnicities, and they are from distinctly different religious backgrounds.  Both people look into one another’s eyes, their right hands rise and they place their palms over their hearts.  Never losing eye contact, they bow slightly to one another and smiles cross their faces. 

This simple universal greeting transcends all that makes us different from one another!  It allows us to connect with each other in a profound manner.  It puts each and every one of us on equal footing.  As an author and blogger, the following statement goes against everything I have previously believed.  Sometimes one gesture is more powerful than a thousand words!

About Jerry V. Dollar, Author, Humorist, Observer of the Human Condition

When not trekking around the globe, Jerry Dollar can be found in Colorado Springs, CO where he lives with his wife Robbi. Besides an affinity for writing and travel; he is also an avid bodybuilder, a very prolific reader, and an enthusiastic observer of the human condition. Jerry has published two books which are available on: Lulu, Amazon, Kindle, Nook, and IBook. "Announcing a Flight Delay" is a hilarious recap of the author's experiences as a million mile flyer. "A Dollar's Worth" is a collection of observations on the human condition, which originally appeared as blog posts. Dr. Dollar has served in various senior executive management capacities over the past 25 years. He has previously worked within the healthcare, insurance, software, and several other high technology industries. Jerry is recognized for his expertise in creating the foundations for emerging organizations to succeed in complex sales environments. He is also well known for his leadership in guiding technology companies through rapid growth phases. Jerry speaks five languages and has conducted business in over 70 countries on six continents. He holds particular expertise in the Latin American and Western European geographic areas. Dr. Dollar holds a BA in International Affairs, a BA in Spanish, an MBA in Marketing, and a PhD in Organizational Development. He has authored numerous professional articles, various training courses, and has conducted seminars and conferences around the world.
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4 Responses to Greetings Earthlings

  1. Arnold Cochran says:

    Excellent post!

    I have had the chance to visit and work in different countries and I believe in the power of one sincere gesture. A sincere gesture do not comes from your words, but come from your hart. That is why a smile is so powerful. In my entire live I have not see anything more powerful than a sincere smile coming from your hart.

    Bendiciones para ti amigo!


  2. Virginie says:

    Funny post !!

    In our virtual world, connected via web, email and phone, don’t you find interesting that the most universal greeting you describe can only be exchanged face to face? After all, human being is a social ‘animal’, no matter how sophisticated technology is, the best communication ever is (still) the body language 🙂


  3. Steve Shea says:

    I think the beauty of what you witnessed – people reaching out to others to understand them – would be obliterated in the process of agreeing on (imposing) a universal greeting.

    Among the great unexplored fictions of the Star Trek universe, which you invoke through the universal Vulcan greeting, is that all the members of a sentient species will have one language, one culture, and one greeting.

    It has not been hard to learn the greetings of the places I’ve visited. People seem touched by the effort, on the whole. Yet, when I used a more universal greeting (for instance, speaking Castillan in Euskadi (Basque country), I got snubbed. People have heritage, and like to preserve it.

    Going back to TV sci-fi, remember the Babylon 5 episode in which the religious representatives from the different worlds got together? The earth was represented by dozens.

    I would hate to have Tswana people give up the greeting “Dumela” for “Yo,” or the reverse for people in South Philly.

    There is meaning in the different greetings. The literal meaning of the English “hello” is an expression of surprise. The Romance world wishes a good day. Cantonese speakers (where they’re allowed to speak Cantonese) are likely to ask if you’ve eaten. Zulus alter the greeting based on status, but basically say, “I see you.”

    There’s wealth in diversity, however inconvenient it may seem.

    Bonan ŝancon.

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