Waht is culture?

Culture is a behavioral pattern observed among set of people. It could be in terms of language (mode of communication), religion, region, food, music, dance, art and many other things. Any living being in this planet earth has a culture attached. Yes, its not only humans even animals have a culture attached to them. After all homosapiens evolved from animals only.
Of all animals, homosapiens are believed to belong to civilised culture. But is this actually true?

Why is culture so important? It is because any individual is identified by these characteristics only. Even if someone says he belongs to no culture, his actions would speak for itself. There are set of individuals who do not want to attach themselves to the behavioral pattern which their predecessors were part of. But why?

The influence of outside world also makes one to change the culture he was part of till yesterday to align himself to a new culture. This happens when people become conscious of their surroundings. But should they change. Well, that was when probably the quote was coined “In Rome be a Roman”.

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6 thoughts on “Waht is culture?

  1. “Of all animals, homosapiens are believed to belong to civilised culture. But is this actually true?”

    Homosapiens are capable of (though not all the time) higher order behaviour such as honesty, value for human/other life, being able to understand the consequences of current actions on future results, intelligence, art, music, compassion etc.. This makes them belong to a more “civilized” culture in comparison to other species.

    “Even if someone says he belongs to no culture, his actions would speak for itself. ”

    I doubt if one can belong to a culture. Unlike religion, case, sex or race culture is fluid, culture is understood differently. Your notion of tamil culture (say) is different from another’s notion of the same.

    Instead, I would argue that each person defines his own culture wherever he/she is at. That culture may have some overlap with mainstream culture while may take parts from other cultures or even newly invented behavior.

    “There are set of individuals who do not want to attach themselves to the behavioral pattern which their predecessors were part of.”

    There are several reasons for this. One changing value systems, for example, at one point in the history of Rome it was okay to put convicts against wild animals in the Colosseum and was part of popular entertainment. Most 21st century humans would never dream of this as entertainment but would consider it a human rights violation. As human beings as a species mature and gain a better understanding of themselves and the world around them their value systems are bound to change. This would result in corresponding to changes to culture.

    Second, popular yesteryear culture may not be appealing to current generation anymore. Every set of human beings in every part of the world see changing trends in fashion, music, art and the like. This is just a reflection for the need for change. Humans crave for variety and too much of anything leads to boredom and a yearning to try new things.

    Third, emancipation, people who were previously bound by restrictions especially under-privileged groups such as females and minorities begin to exercise their interests and needs, culture changes to accommodate these.

    Other reasons include economic growth, globalization, medical and scientific innovations etc.

    “The influence of outside world also makes one to change the culture he was part of till yesterday to align himself to a new culture. This happens when people become conscious of their surroundings. But should they change.”

    People dont align themselves to a new culture in a whole sale manner. Cultural changes happen piecemeal. People like certain parts and they emulate those. Nobody goes through a conversion process and says from today I will follow only X culture and no other culture.

    “But should they change” is a question to be answered only by the individual. Some individuals feel the need to change more than others. Some individuals wish to change certain aspects while keeping other aspects the same. The important thing is to give everybody the freedom if they so choose.

  2. @PP
    every individual has right to choose what he wants to do. but looking back don’t you think that most values in our society have got lost because ppl just didn’t realise how much value it had.
    the examples for this would follow in my coming posts.
    there’s nothing wrong in adapting to a different culture or starting one of your own but that should be done only after understanding thoroughly where you come from and what was the past in the place you had stayed. only when one understand’s the deeper significance can he can say, yeah i hate how we were and I definitely need a change.
    Yes, some of the practices done in olden times have to definitely change. This is because ppl understud the cruelty in those occasions.
    Take for instances we Indians, how many know our past and what was all there??

  3. Hi Sathish:

    Nice insight. When culture evolved? Nobody has got an answer. One possible answer could be when men become civilized. When did men become civilized? None can explain this. Civilization evolved.

    I agree with the fact that people don’t realize the value of culture. But I differ in your opinion where you said people will have to know thoroughly about their culture if they tend to change.

    Culture is nothing but ideas based on the customs that prevailed in that current period, and what was considered suitable for that period. There are values that are good that needs to be appreciated or followed. There are values that need not essentially be good and blindly be followed.

    Culture throughout has got adopted from time and again and over centuries. It is practically not possible for someone who wants to adapt to different culture to learn the basics or the origin of the culture.

    Adaptation is part and parcel of culture. Culture that was once called refined need not be a refined one at this time. What may be called refined now might not have been accepted centuries ago.

    simple example.

    polygamy and monogamy There were times when guys competed to get more wives to prove their “valor”

    There were times when guys getting married more than once were/are looked down upon!

    It keeps changing! Even if one attempts to know thoroughly about one culture before he completes learning that the culture would have already changed before he completes the process

  4. @sindhu
    what i probably wanted 2 mean was, there are lot of ppl who say i hate my culture just by one or 2 instances. now if these guys dig deep into their culture they would probably understand things lot better.
    so, i wantd 2 mention dont go by few instances, understand and then think whether you should actually change or not.

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