Same same but different

erez's picture

Average: 4.3 (13 votes)

Anyone who ever traveled in India is familiar with the phrase "same same but different".

Say you see a nice T-shirt in the window of a shop, you enter the shop and ask the owner for the shirt. He hands you over a shirt which somehow doesn't look exactly like the one in the window. You ask: "Is it the same as the shirt in the window?". "Same same" the man replies. Then you unfold the shirt and find out that it has a different cut and a different print. You say: "no, it is not the same, look!" and he replies: "same same but different".

What can you say? he has some point in his words.

You can extend this "same same but different" from T-shirts to any object in reality in order to demonstrate once again the invalidity and paradoxicality of form as we tend to perceive it:

If an object exists then it is naturally well defined. Now, if it is absolutely the same as another well-defined existing object then they must be the same object but they are not as you can clearly notice. So there must be always some difference between the two objects while still they are the same - a paradox! The obvious conclusion is that form object can never be an absolute entity but rather a set of qualities defined on matter. Comparing two form objects, some of the qualities may be identical while some may differ in the same time.

Realizing that form is actually a set of qualities rather than an existing independent inherit entity, you understand that it is not the phrase "same same but different" that is paradoxical but rather our erroneous view of form.

nathan's picture

Hillarious and true

Excellent depiction of the problematic and half-baked nature of the concept of form.

Plus, the first time I meet a positive perspective about this irritating trait of so many Indians merchants to try the deceiving path.

"Same same but different" is iconic to anyone who traveled to India. And to those who haven't been there I can only say: mmm, you cannot imagine what you miss despite the "same same".

nathan | Sat, 09/19/2009 - 09:07
suzi's picture

Fantastic allegory of real life

Every moment in our "boring" daily life encapsulates wisdom, lessons and messages. We just need to be attentive and present and it turns to be an adventure, a true sadhana.

To be able to see such a sharp parable underlying casual happenings such as the known "same same but different" is a great gift.

Thank you!

suzi | Tue, 09/29/2009 - 18:08