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Preserving Culture ?

10 Jul

This is a topic that I hear very often, not just in the Indian-American context, but also in the general media. And, usually, it is associated with watching a bunch of people who still wear very “traditional” clothes and singing “traditional” songs. One definition of Culture is as follows: “the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations”. It is a very good definition in my view. And, I understand why our ancestors persisted in following the older generation. Fundamentally, there was no documentation on each and every situations and how to handle them..;).. In the modern age, when information is just a click away, or rather, a google away, what value addition does culture really provide?

I understand that history is a reminder and reflection of how we got to where we are. But, should we live history in order to appreciate it? If we look at every aspect of culture in great detail, we will find that they were formed based on the socio-economic framework that existed at that time. A lot of them do have some sound reasoning. But, on the other hand, the concept of dowry, living in a single big-family etc., are examples where the reasoning is highly debatable for current situations. Given the global outlook on ideas and thoughts, I am not sure if there is any meaning in boasting about individual culture and tradition. Though it may have some aesthetic historical value, I am not sure if it has any real value. I am not proposing a global culture, but at the same time, I think the idea of global culture will soon evolve over the next few generations. What do u folks think?

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5 Comments

Posted by on July 10, 2006 in From AM-KICKING blog

 

5 responses to “Preserving Culture ?

  1. BrainWaves

    July 10, 2006 at 5:57 pm

    Asking to follow culture may indirectly mean follow my path. It could be an outcome of our sub-concsious need to leave a trail in this world (since we know we are not going to live forever).

    The may be the reason older people are the ones who insist on “culture”.

    We may be asking our next generation to follow our google culture instead of their own.

     
  2. Saumya

    July 10, 2006 at 8:48 pm

    My take on this is this: When a person comes into the world, they don’t “know” how life is lived, and they look to their elders to determine how they live. Everything is acquired: from cuisine to dress sense to thought process (at least initially).

    Slowly, people start thinking for themselves without merely following, by which time the older generation still thinks they are wisely shaping the next generation, and try to direct the younger generation (I am not going into the pros and cons here – but some of it is for the good, and some not). Some things change, and some things result in conflict. But overall, there is a slow, perceptible change.

    Already, I think the developed world is slowly evolving a distinct cosmopolitan culture that is blending seamlessly across different cultures, and globalisation is the cause and effect.

     
  3. Mindframes

    July 11, 2006 at 10:06 pm

    Sri, I think culture is a collective concept. I think it is more like which language you would choose to code your programs. If you have used a language for a while in a company setting, both you and your company folks might see a genuine need to use the language though it may not be the right choice for a different setting at a later time.

    Saumya, I agree with the fact that culture is evolutionary and that the filtration process happens over every generation. So, the question is, how much filtration should be done? Should we ignore something that is passed on for ages? Do logical answers to a given societal problem solve the problem on a longer term? I think there should be change. At the same time, I am a little sceptic when drastic changes happen. Did the earlier generations skip something that seems too obvious? I dont know…Only time can tell..

     
  4. Manohar

    July 13, 2006 at 12:55 am

    I kind of believe in taking each scenario on a case by case basis. Although I don’t always suceed in following it- but i think that may lead one to examine each scenario and if existing solutions (culture) are better use them and if they don’t apply throw it out.

     
  5. bumblebee

    July 25, 2006 at 1:00 am

    Shakespeare says – “Every why hath a wherefore”. This was not the case in the family I was raised. The answer to many “why” questions was “because I said so!” . There are a million other reasons to thank my family for, this just is not one of them. “Why” questions enhance learning and if only I had more answers growing up, I might have embraced tradition more. As Mindframes mentioned, the lack of (discovered) documentation is a key problem. “Why” questions are perceived by many elders as disobedience and rudeness rather than curiosity.

    Progressively, I find each generation questions knowledge passed on over generations, albeit th level of questioning or challenging is much slower than my expectations. With time, culture is bound to change. It seems, however, that the turn of the clock is much faster and culture is on the chase, but always playing catch up.

     

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