To sharpen your “as-if-o-scope”, it certainly helps to be cross-cultural. In every culture, some things go without saying and grown-ups will normally not notice them or think of them, they become part of the background (but children often see them, take notice). Confronting yourself with other cultures and confronting people from other cultures with your own, you and the others will learn a lot of interesting things (sometimes in the form of misunderstandings that lurk in unsuspected places and explode when you step on them). You will learn to perceive the as-if-constructions on both sides (besides getting to know a lot of interesting things like music, dance, food etc. too). You learn to look at your culture from the outside and to perceive some of its aspects that seemed very normal before as rather bizarre or sometimes quite funny.
Also, it is a very good experience to live in a multicultural family. The people in my family live (roughly south to north) in New Zealand, South Africa, Cameroon, Nigeria, Eritrea, Liberia, Turkey, Italy, Germany and the USA (I might have forgotten some places, they tend to become more). They have ancestors from Cameroon, Eritrea, Nigeria, Liberia, Turkey, Germany, Denmark, Czechia, ancient America and some other places. They speak lots of different languages. We don’t agree on matters of politics, religion and other things, but we are still a family.
Add friends and friends of friends and the diversity becomes even larger.
This has taught me to take an outsider’s view and I am trying, bit by bit, to share some of my insights with you (sometimes taking the disguise of my fictitious second self, the extraterrestrial Tsish, who was born in a thought experiment about how the strange culture of our planet would look to somebody from somewhere else – however, my first self is also partially fictitious and constructed, like anybody else’s, but that would be a topic for another article…).