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Wed Dec 17, 2014, 02:42 PM

Culture as the engine driving all human behavior

Morality is culture, and I am willing to defend this. But having been banned from a discussion of culture because it was in relation to the slaughter of children in Pakistan I make this offering here. And I would remind DU does spell du, and it is a big world out there full of places full of open minds. I am not justifying what people do. Often what is horrible to us is horrible to all; but it is like Apocalypse Now: The Horror. And the Horror is often how people win, when the other side can take no more of it.

Still it is not out of bounds to talk of culture since every war is a conflict of cultures. And to understand culture as the engine of human behavior is the correct analogy. No one ignorant of mechanics would look at any part of a motor and start ripping off parts that seem in their minds useless. Consider the ancient Egyptians who cared for their dead with great devotion to duty, and saved all the organs of the dead for their afterlife; with the exception of the brain, which they pulled out and threw to the dogs. They thought without knowing, that the brain only produced snot, and that is certainly true of some people here, but is not always the case. They were only saving the dead a future of running noses; but if their beliefs were true they were denying the dead their brains in the afterlife.

Cultures are not created out of theory, but out of reality. They may seem like an effect without a cause, but it is nonsense to look at a durable culture clearly able to defend itself as bearing the burden of so many effects without cause. Culture is knowledge as community is morality. Both culture and morality reflect what societies have learned through survival of what works for their survival. Anyone daring to start pulling characteristics out of culture, especially foreign cultures with out an extensive understanding of how these attributes came into being is not only insane, but a criminal.

These cultural attributes have a reason for being. If we do not have the reason for its being, neither do we have the attribute; but what vanity makes a person want to tamper with another complex human accomplishment that clearly works for survival on the basis of answered need? People judge, but it is prejudice. Knowledge is judgment, said Kant, but true judgment means true knowledge. We have no right to judge, but only because we do not have the ability to judge fairly. We judge out of ignorance of our own culture and theirs. And Here I admit that I should be PC because you are so PC; but I have a great regard for the truth, and if you folks find the truth offensive, then kick me out and close the door because I will not suffer fools in silence.

There are a lot of individual actions in this world that turn my stomach as much as they will turn the stomach of any decent human being. Every individual action is justified to a degree by culture. Culture can never be understood fully subjectively or objectively. We cannot gain perspective on our culture enough to grasp it as an abstraction. We cannot see other cultures clearly because of our own subjective prejudices arising out of our own cultural experience. Where is the possibility of seeing culture scientifically?

I understand the problem of any attempted objective examination of culture, and yet it is not too much to ask of any group which I associate with. I know it is impossible. I know it takes much anthropology and sociology studied to give anyone the ability to extrapolate information from one culture to another. But it takes nothing in this age of science to accept that nothing exist without a cause, and this is true of the characteristics of culture. To abuse me, to deny me privileges because I dare to tell this simple truth of the matter is childish. Do you burn books here; because I have a lot of anthropology and sociology in mind.

Culture is not an abstraction, but an accretion. Time alone builds cultures out of, and toward survival. If you judge culture you judge on the basis of ignorance which is prejudice. I am not saying what people did was right. I am certain they will learn how wrong and unproductive it was. What I am saying is we do not have the knowledge to judge even our own culture which can hardly be said to work justice for us, and increase our chances of survival.

I refuse to live with my own ignorance, and I have read extensively, and what is more; I refuse to live with your ignorance. I do not to expect to stop people from attacking or meddling in other cultures. Ignorance acts and knowledge observes. I will not be a party to it. and I will not be judged by ignorance. And I say this knowing full well that the ignorant are prejudiced.

Thanks...Sweeney

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Reply Culture as the engine driving all human behavior (Original post)
Sweeney Dec 2014 OP
seabeyond Dec 2014 #1
Sweeney Dec 2014 #2

Response to Sweeney (Original post)


Response to Sweeney (Original post)

Wed Dec 17, 2014, 11:53 PM

2. Cultural analogy

Culture is to humanity what water is to fish. If you were a fish, water would be all around you, in you, and you could not imagine living without it, and you would not. If you were a fresh water fish, if you were at all conscious of salt water you might find no use for it. People often feel like that of foreign cultures even if they are generally unconscious of them. Where then can anyone gain the perspective with which to see culture as an object, that is, objectively. We can see culture subjectively if not accurately. We generally see our culture as good and others cultures as bad or less than good. But here consider ones culture as the home team. People do not root for the home team because the home team is the best, or even all that good. People root for the home team not because of what the home team is, or how good they are. People root for the home team because of who they are, and they get that -who they are- in part from the home team.

What we call Civilization the Germans call Culture, What ever it is called it represents knowledge. As knowledge increases, culture changes. Primitive peoples generally have a greater consciousness and sensitivity to culture. It is because they find culture (and morality) more essential to their survival. Higher technology makes for less cultural consciousness even while technology as knowledge is an element of culture, and a deceptive one because it allows people to think they are living as individuals independent of culture. Regardless; culture does not go away simply because people are unconscious of it. When they are unconscious of culture they are very often more inclined to follow cultural demands. More primitive cultures very often feel the need to define themselves as apart from nature and animals. Circumcision, tattooing, scarification, and art generally are self defining actions for communities. Some people have been known to cook their breast milk because they as human beings eat cooked food. Dress and hairstyle are also elements of culture as is language. And these are shibboleths, allowing easy recognition of one own people. But just because all people are in a culture and their culture reflects their level of knowledge and technology, this does not mean they can see their culture in any sense objectively.

Thanks...Sweeney

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