Treatise on Organicism: Culture

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Introduction

There are two causes of human violence and oppression, resource scarcity and cultural differences. The former is solved through technological progress, the latter is solved through the integration of cultural outgroups into our society. Our social world needs more communication, more data, and not less. In this post we will discuss the most important issue for the Organicist, the problem with culture.

Culture is an Evil

To begin, there are numerous forms of culture which we must remain concerned about. There is artificial culture generated by societal status and power, then there is the natural culture generated by long standing ethnic or clan affiliation. For the purposes of this post we will focus on natural culture.

Culture as we allow it to exist pose both positive and negative outcomes. On one hand it is a great source of evil and civil strife, cultural differences fuel the fire for racism and hatred. Problems which plague society are blamed on these cultural ‘outsiders’ who exist outside the State apparatus. To the Organicist, this is a natural human tendency that we all partake in. On the other hand, cultural differences yield differing viewpoints on the solutions to societal ills. When correctly ‘diffused’ into a society, they may yield an offspring with both astounding genius and personal drive; a rare combination. In addition, culture provides a sense of community and belonging for individuals in a foreign land, it serves as the lynch pin from which a foreigner may integrate into his or her new home.

However, to the Organicist, the benefits of free reigning Liberal culture (one nation, many unique cultures) are far outweighed by the negative consequences. Oppression, violence, and unrelenting racism run rampant through societies incapable of correctly assimilating outsiders. Vast quantities of resources and time are wasted on these issues; and to what benefit?

It is a false dichotomy to say that we must choose one or the other, we can eradicate negative cultural outcomes AND correctly infuse our society with the differing views and solutions proposed by outsiders simultaneously; it is done through continuous and willing social communication (i.e. social networks). The more connected these outgroups become, the more contact they make with the predominant culture. The more contact they make, the more discussion they produce, the more cultural nullification which occurs.

Cultural nullification is the process by which two opposing sides (say a Libertarian and a Communist) discuss their opinions, thoughts, and ideals. Through this exchange they both change in very subtle ways. Over time, these changes tend toward a ‘meeting of the middle’ where the two individuals nullify their per-existing differences which would yield to an aversion to each other. As a result of this continued contact, they form a bond. Through years of this continuous contact, they nullify their traditionally violent cultural tendencies (death to Communists) toward the outsider and either convert or abdicate their views.

Culture is Natural

The generation of culture is a natural human tendency. We tell stories through any media we can invent (oral, written, tv, performance, etc). We create art, engage in entertainment, cook certain foods, etc. All these activities contribute the ‘production’ of culture.

Culture, in a broad sense, cannot be eradicated as we will be continually generating new regional variants as quickly as we nullify it. But certain forms of culture can be stifled and in some sense, destroyed. Cultural differences which result in altering an individual’s violent political opinions must be communally repressed in order to facilitate the construction of an Organic Society. Therefore when speaking about culture the Organicist is primarily focused on the following cultural activities (in order of severity)

  1. Support the continual destruction of regional dialects or competing languages (already occurring naturally through the extreme dominance of English in all public/popular/scientific media)
  2. Communal Religious/Ceremonial Practices (marriage, church, coming of age rituals, etc)
  3. Cultural (or sub-cultural) ‘identity’
    1. Affiliation to a national, or sub-national (racial, regional, etc) group
  4. Kinship/Clan Affiliation
    1. While the family unit is currently the most efficient/’natural’ way of raising children, the cultural practice of a ‘family’ name yields negative cultural results

Other aspects of life such as art, entertainment, etc is seen as a byproduct of the existing status quo. Because the Organicist society focuses on the root cause of these issues, over time, all other ‘cultural’ peripheral behaviors would change to reflect this new, Organicist cultural world. In fact, it is essential that the government not attempt to influence these activities directly, as they allow for the society to see how far they’ve progressed in removing supposed negative cultural externalities. The Organicist, above all, is focused on the uncensored opinion of the collective whole; with a passionate pursuit for the eradication for information asymmetry. The philosopher king who knows best for his people is an authoritarian myth. Public culture is an efficient and beneficial measure to check the pulse of the populace, it must remain as such.

All Opinions Matter

The Organicist seeks a consensus society, as a result, ALL opinions matter; no matter how racist, bigoted, evil, etc. All opinions expressed give us valuable information about the level of development for a society and the work required to convert those of differing views. We must support an argumentative culture, where people freely communicate their views and solutions so that they can be judged and oppressed respectively.

To be clear, we freely communicate and freely oppress (rant, argue, discuss). To ‘respect a difference’ is only possible if that difference doesn’t threaten the political stability of your own world view, or, you are willing to abdicate your own opinion on the matter to another.

The Organicist knows his or her own future through the communities and collectives he or she associates. A society where technology allows it to overcome its existing dependency on forces external to itself; the Organicist seeks much more than a self-sufficient society, it seeks a self-empowering society. We believe that the use of crowd censoring is the most effective method to divert and manipulate opinions which are ‘off track.’ In all its glory, peer oppression is preferable to State oppression whenever possible. This is done naturally by society in the following guise.

  1. There is a predominant cultural ‘base point’ of acceptable opinions and behaviors in society
  2. People now openly express their thoughts and opinions, which are on the fringe
  3. The predominant culture now shuns, attacks, and engages in dialogue with radicals
  4. The radicals either succeed or fail in convincing mainstream culture of its arguments. The majority of the time they will fail.
    1. And in some scenarios (if they have enough membership to self-sustain) they will withdraw into a small community bent on refining its views and arguments.
  5. Repeat process.

Therefore, we need no government to enforce some totalitarian cultural guard rail for its citizens; for this process is happening as we speak via popular media. If the government is to made of the collective people, than let it be so. Individuals cannot constitute government, just as an individual cannot constitute or represent culture. Culture and government are fundamentally collectivist concepts, with no existence at the individual level. Simply allow the citizenry to enforce the oppression for you (short of the obvious, threats of physical violence, aggressive bullying, etc…).

As technology continues to improve (due to government policies, or general inertia) the way people relate to land, housing, food changes dramatically. This will alter their ideological perceptions and the inevitable ‘fall in’ to Organicist principals. Which are,

  1. Human self sufficiency on the external, natural world
  2. Free exchange of information. The eventual removal of information asymmetry
  3. A slow progression from democratic governance to consensus governance (as maturity grows)
  4. The eventual diffusal of political and contentious cultural differences via the negation of energy/resource scarcity
  5. Utopia: A society so abundant that work is a choice made for personal self fulfilment and the egotistical desire to explore, invent, and become known to his/her fellow collective.

Conclusion

Culture is the base root of most evil that we face. Religious, ethnic, or nationalistic conflict would be solved if society merely encouraged a differing perspective on how to assimilate outsiders. The credo of the Organicist is to engage, combat, argue, debate. The credo of the Liberal is to understand, appreciate, and ignore. Through the process of defending your views and feeling this collective oppression you either submit or you fight back. Let this fight be through a means which impacts the individual; through their friends, family, and community. To allow sub cultures to fester unconnected for decades is to admit defeat. All humans desire a community, we all desire a culture representative of our views and beliefs. If these differences are immaterial then ignore them, if they threaten your political world then combat them!

The Organicist does not shy from ideological battle, he/she welcomes it.

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16 comments

  1. Plato

    This is actually a very good narrative on a subject that is relevant to the entire Planet. It’s in my fields of interest and endeavor and I would like to continue on the topic if you so agree.

    There is however, one point on which I need clarification before we can set about it.

    Who is the Organicist that you refer to in your closing paragraph?

    1. Hi Ike, thanks for reading. I welcome any comments/critiques (on the above post) or observations of your own (not directly related to the post) on the topic of culture and how it relates to our society. The Organicist referenced in this post would be the adherent(s) (depending on if anyone agrees with the manifesto and subsequent writings I post on this topic) of the ideology of which I am building here. I have hinted at why it’s called Organicism (and not something else) thus far, but as time goes on it’ll become more clear.

  2. Plato

    I hope you have no objection to me addressing you by this name; it somehow makes it easier for me.

    I would like to follow it and stick with you to the end because it is a subject that has been discussed by many over a long period of time.

    You quite correctly put the question: What is Culture?

    It is a vast field; no one single definition has as yet [in my humble opinion] been recorded to satisfy all questions about the many ingredients that each may have, or added to what culture is.

    If that is your aim, I shall gladly follow you and look forward to the next delivery.

    IkeJ

  3. I would believe that you misunderstand Culture. On the one hand you give it anthropomorphic qualities as if it were some live beast that was responsible for the “evil” men do to each other. Then later on you try to convince us that it is an off the shelf product that individuals and even entire countries and governments can purchase at the local retail outlets. I would suggest that culture is identity and not an physical artifact. It may consist of physical artifacts and intellectual symbols but those only describe its identity as far as those who identify with such a group universal. I would believe your problem is that you are attempting to define and change from the top down. Culture doesn’t kill people, people kill people. We may blame the cause or motivation on a cultural construct, but motivation is not action.

    Has the dominance of English really destroyed other languages? By the way, just how many English based languages are there in use today? Any idea of how many Spanish languages are used in Spain? Does the French spoken in Paris vary from Brussels, Lyon, Strasbourg, or Marseille? A single universal language, assuming it could be accomplished, and it can’t, will also be subject to local variation and change. Language is, in that sense a “living thing” although it is the locals who do the living and the changing. The same is true with customs, morals, food, and many other elements of living. What the French think is Tex-Mex cuisine doesn’t even come close.

    There are so many subtle differences in culture that we tend to overlook them until we experience problems first hand. In Spain on doesn’t go out to the restaurant to dine until 10pm. In France the restaurants all close by then. I believe it rather simplistic thinking that language, culture, and so forth can be changed by fiat or encouraged to go against the natural inclination to resist change. As far as information asymmetry is concerned, it will always be that way. The average individual is not interested in complete access to all information. And when it comes to governing by consensus, good luck getting any laws passed. There is a reason why leaders are always found in every group and why the followers in those groups allow the leader to chart the direction, set the standard of action.

    You have made a brave attempt but like all searches for utopia, they always end in failure. The difference between Moore and Marx in terms of their respective utopias was that one was to guided by the spirit of god and the other by the spirit of communism. ain’t going to happen in a hundred lifetimes. But I wish you well. After all, you just might come up with some good ideas that, if given a change, could work.

    1. Hi Williambean,
      Thanks for your thoughts. This response is very long but hopefully I address your arguments. I’ll respond to your critiques in order

      “On the one hand you give it anthropomorphic qualities as if it were some live beast that was responsible for the “evil” men do to each other. Then later on you try to convince us that it is an off the shelf product that individuals and even entire countries and governments can purchase at the local retail outlets.

      To the first sentence, yes. However, I do not think my post at all suggests the latter sentence, I would like to see some quotations you used to derive this opinion. My argument throughout the article is that culture is complex with many facets, the following quotation (in my opinion) supports this

      “The generation of culture is a natural human tendency. We tell stories through any media we can invent (oral, written, tv, performance, etc). We create art, engage in entertainment, cook certain foods, etc. All these activities contribute the ‘production’ of culture.
      Culture, in a broad sense, cannot be eradicated as we will be continually generating new regional variants as quickly as we nullify it. But certain forms of culture can be stifled and in some sense, destroyed.”

      I think the last paragraph quoted here highlights this distinction. I go on to describe what cultural activities are dangerous (the list of 4 in the post), some of which are supported and encouraged by government intervention. Thus my conclusions about the policy provisions and actions that an Organicist demands in this area. As you mention in later paragraphs, I agree that there will always be regional sub-cultures, differences in speech etc. However, there are some cultural practices which are more dangerous than others; thus the hierarchy I outline in my quoted passage.

      My principal argument for culture is that it’s a choice and not a byproduct. We can change our cultural practices, our frame of mind, or how we reconcile our place in the outside world. These are choices. No one forces us to celebrate Christmas, or take a 2 hour siesta. We can change ourselves through the better via open communication.

      Therefore (and more importantly), cultural differences are artificial barriers between individuals which caps our potential. Culture is a fake set of made up behaviors that we all do, because everyone else does it. There is no mysticism surrounding my decision to leave work at 5pm on a Friday even though I’ll have work Saturday and Sunday all day. These are choices, and only social oppression keeps me from acting otherwise.

      Your point on languages is brief but I’d like to address it
      “Has the dominance of English really destroyed other languages?”
      I would say yes.

      http://rosettaproject.org/blog/02013/mar/28/new-estimates-on-rate-of-language-loss/
      http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/07/vanishing-languages/rymer-text

      1. Now, you mention local variants of French in France, we can also point to the differences of Spanish in central/south America. I did not elaborate my opinion on languages in my post but I can do so now. I believe that the language you speak changes your world view, the concept is called Linguistic Relativity; and certainly it has much controversy which you can reveal at your leisure.

        As a result I would say that someone speaking Swiss-German (a nearly mutually unintelligible variant of German) would think differently from someone from North Germany. Which is in contrast with the mutually intelligible differences of French sub-dialects you discuss. I do not argue that you can destroy these regional sub-dialects, only that you can continue to eradicate different languages which pose severe difficulties in communication on a global level. But you don’t need an evil Organicist to preach this gospel, its happening (I argue) naturally already. Mandarian Chinese, English, and Spanish have all been making steady gains in destroying local tribal languages (as an example) which it comes into contact with.

        I would say this marks a significant change. Sure there are regional dialects in France, but surely you can’t say that Occitan is making a resurgence, to the point where those in the south of France cannot openly communicate with their northern neighbors? My understanding was that its mostly the elderly who carry on this tradition.

        Another point of yours I’d like to address
        “I believe it rather simplistic thinking that language, culture, and so forth can be changed by fiat or encouraged to go against the natural inclination to resist change.”

        The purpose of Organicism is to build a new culture, brought about by open, trans-continental communication and a government which does not artificially influence it (ex: marriage). I do not support ‘demolishing’ culture, like Stalin would destroy Orthodox churches. People choose what culture is as a group (as I mentioned earlier), it is not forced upon them. I choose what language I speak, God does not force me to use English. I use it because my friends and family do. As a collective group of people, we can change our practices if so we choose.

        “As far as information asymmetry is concerned, it will always be that way. The average individual is not interested in complete access to all information.”

        That is not the point. The point is to have the information available. Just because ‘the average individual is not interested’ does not mean we aren’t irreparably harmed by keeping this information secret. By this logic, we shouldn’t have a freedom of information act in the United States, because 99% of the populace ‘isn’t interested’. Governments, companies, and individuals should remain accountable for their actions. They should not be allowed to hide their behaviors under the rug simply because most people don’t care. Of all your critiques, I think this is one of the weakest.

        “And when it comes to governing by consensus, good luck getting any laws passed.”

        This critique is not new. Just prior to the discussions of new democratic governance people would cry, how will you get anything done when 50% of the mob wants it one way, and 50% wants it the other? They claimed there would be chaos, riots, destruction, and much else. Sure, they were right in some regard and yet here we all are, in one of the wealthiest and most powerful socio-economic systems on the planet, brought about by democracy. It seems that despite people’s beliefs about ‘human nature’ and ‘the natural order of things’ they were all wrong. Who would have thought?

        Consensus rule is a goal which requires a new level of maturity for humanity, brought about by cultural nullification. If democracy requires an enlightened mob to function correctly, consensus rule requires an angelic population. I’ll admit to this at least.

        1. And finally,

          “You have made a brave attempt but like all searches for utopia, they always end in failure.”

          This is also not new. Utopia is never meant to be achieved, it is only a goal to strive toward. The Utopian Classical Liberal government would probably look something like modern Europe/USA when looking at the earlier philosophers of the 1800s. And yet, very few of us today think we live in anything resembling a utopia.

          The point is to look forward, to see how we can improve, how we can change the world for the better. To say utopia is unattainable is an oxymoron, that’s the entire point. It’s a guiding principal. Plenty of religious individuals have a Utopian vision of their own godliness that involves being ‘sinless’, but since most people belief they are born with original sin then that’s impossible. And yet, why the religious keep trying to sin less every day they live? According to you, this would be pointless. The utopia they strive for has already been lost, now they have to drop on their knees and beg forgiveness to god for their original sin, and that time they had premarital sex when they were 18.

          They still strive to sin less because they believe that the action of moving toward the utopia is just, pure, and a wholly good thing. It means improving themselves as a person and being a better member of their human community. In this frame of mind, it is irrelevant if the ends justify the means, because the ends are impossible. So long as the means are ‘good’, then let it be done

      2. Your assertion that,”The dominance of English has destroyed other languages.”, is false. Your citations do not support your assertion. How do languages disappear? They are no longer taught to successive generations. If I am a member of a linguistic community and a speaker of that language, then the usual manner of language transmittal is through my teaching it to my children and using it as the primary language of the family. And if my children use it as their primary language and teach it to their children, it survives. But like many first generation speakers of a language than must interact with another larger linguistic community, if I adopt the new language as my primary language and do not speak my old primary language to my children and grandchildren, then that old language will disappear if I am the only speaker left. And when I die that knowledge goes with me.

        Iasked you if you knew how many Englishes there were in the world. The simple answer is four. In reality, we will see two more added in the next decade or two. The english spoken in the UK and western Europe is not the same English spoken in North America or Australia or India. And variations exist in China, South east Asia, and Africa as well as South America. Languages constantly change and new forms evolve such as the four variations of Spanglish.

        Another assertion is that cultural differences are artificial barriers. Rubbish. There is nothing artificial about culture. One can’t understand culture by looking down on it from thirty thousand feet. One understands human behavior from the bottom up and culture is collective human behavior. Just as we learn our primary language from our parents, we learn our social skills by being members of groups. Our first group is that of the family, one we do not get to pick. But we join other groups through out our lives. The grade school is not a group we normally choose but we do form group memberships with our neighborhood friends and and to some degree our fellow classmates. Group membership is an important part of our lives and contributes some bit of culture to our being. We do not perceive all knowledge to same as every one else. Individual variation has a strong influence on our behaviors, our beliefs, and our goal seeking. Culture is a collection of groups. Bit culture is an umbrella, that is, it covers only the groups one observes. Western culture covers quite a number of groups. The culture of Dallas Texas covers considerably fewer groups. Cultural experience is both an individual event and a group event.

        Now I come back to my assertion that you treat culture as some sort of off the shelf product one can purchase at any store and take home. That is my perception from your writing and I must say your reply has done little to change that perception. Mind, I am not attacking you, I am only pointing out what my impressions tell me. I would believe that you are looking from a big picture point of view. I see phrases like social suppression and I think political science. Yes, some social interactions may be perceived as oppression. But society depends more upon cooperation than it does oppression. There are three good books on that subject. It goes back to behaviorism where behavior is learned through stimulus – response – and positive or negative reward. Social oppression is more punishment when does little to reinforce behavior. As you can tell, I am a “bottom-up” thinker when it comes to human behaviors that also include history and cultures. It is my belief that until you examine your premises for Organicism from a bottom up approach you will not succeed in developing a credible theory. Again, just my opinion and no discredit to you.

        Meanwhile I look forward to your thinking on economics, law, and a few other subjects.

        1. Hi William, I do appreciate your comments. I don’t feel as though you are attacking me. I enjoy your criticisms. I’ll circle back to your point on culture (we may have reached a difference of opinion here) but for now I will defend my English language statement.

          Many North American tribal languages have disappeared due to English. The story is even more stark when looking at Chinese and Spanish, I’d bet a lot of money on that.

          http://www.economist.com/node/883997
          “Of the world’s 6,000 or 7,000 languages, a couple go out of business each week. Some recent victims from the rich world have included Catawba (Massachusetts), Eyak (Alaska) and Livonian (Latvia).”

          Note that the two listed here are in North America. Tribal children no longer choose to carry on the language of their elders, they’ve assimilated into the English world. Perhaps your perspective on this matter is fundamentally different from my own, so you don’t see this as English ‘destroying’ another language, but that seems like semantics to me at this point.

          Maybe your point is that it’s not English destroying another language but North American power luring people into abandoning their tribal roots (thus losing their own language). If so, this what I mean by English destroying something else. It’s cultural assimilation.

          So I’d like to address this point you made directly, it goes as follows

          “The english spoken in the UK and western Europe is not the same English spoken in North America or Australia or India. And variations exist in China, South east Asia, and Africa as well as South America. Languages constantly change and new forms evolve such as the four variations of Spanglish.”

          Agreed but you must admit here that there are huge differences between an english accent and an english dialect and a completely different language! All three distinctions matter very much so here. And I do not agree here that there are going to be more language ‘created’. I think the exact opposite. Languages are being exterminated left and right, I have provided three articles now regarding the destruction of language and in my mind (with globalization) I don’t see any reason why this trend would reverse. At some point we may hit some equilibrium X languages, but certainly we won’t have more than we have today. Why do you think otherwise?

        2. Now I’ll address your critique of my position on culture. Let me preface by saying I am okay with others not accepting this world view, that’s the nature of this type of post. I enjoy people who disagree and challenge my assertions. Anyway, I’ll start here

          “Our first group is that of the family, one we do not get to pick.”

          Ah, but we do get to choose how we raise our children. My father was raised to treat animals as tools. Living on a farm he didn’t think much of killing pigs, cattle, or dogs (if they went ‘feral’). In my mind his actions toward animals were immoral. However, he did not raise me in this way even though his perceptions toward animals were still abusive (in my mind).

          I get to choose how my children relate to the social world, I get to decide what holidays they celebrate, what festivals they attend, the schools they go to (and thus the socio-economic class of children he/she plays with), etc. For a time (18ish?), I can even keep them from worshiping God, if I am in the mood. My role as a parent is essentially totalitarian, I am not helpless in the ever crushing wave of culture which springs fourth spontaneously through the sewers. I am an agent of change.

          If your assertion were true, then where would Mormons come from? I argue Mormons come from a massive effort to generate a new form of cultural customs from mass reproduction. Collective parental power in this guise is awe inspiring because after just a few generations (1800s-2000s) they’ve produced someone who very nearly became president of the United States.

          “Another assertion is that cultural differences are artificial barriers. Rubbish. There is nothing artificial about culture. One can’t understand culture by looking down on it from thirty thousand feet.”

          So now it must be said, how did democracy come about then? For the vast majority of human existence (since the beginnings of civilization, maybe 26th century BC ish?), we have lived under varying levels of authoritarian dictatorship. Our relationship to the political world was completely separated. Doing your ‘civic duty’ in bronze age Palestine amounted to keeping your head down and paying your taxes.

          Certainly there is much to be said about forms of culture I don’t care much about. That is, ritual practices, how you eat your food, how you cook it, rituals of courtship, etc. These are all things that change depending on the availability of material resources. The richer you get the more elaborate your food can be, and thus, the more ridiculous your ritual (sorry, I only eat Chia seeds and drink juice from the acai berry). If we change the material fabric of our world, we can change the cultural practices of it. Who knows what they will be, I don’t claim to know what sort of obscure phrases teenagers will invent as an innuendo to sneak off and have sex somewhere. But I do claim that our political culture can change for the better, and that a better political culture (active social oppression) will yield better ground floor behaviors.

          I don’t think there is much correlation between the way you hold your fork and how you behave during an election cycle. I do think there is a strong correlation between how you interact with your peers and the political culture. This political culture warps the lower level activities, maybe now instead of stabbing a bull with a sword a few times a year (spainish bull fighting) we just climb a mountain. Bull fighting apparently has evidence of occurring since 2,000 BC. It’s taken us this long to push back (in some cases ban) the practice. Why? Because of the animal ethics movement throughout Europe. People wouldn’t care otherwise.

          People won’t decide to stop stabbing that bull with a sword unless the political culture of the nation says it is NOT okay to needlessly torture animals (social oppression). You rightly disagree with my top down viewpoints here, so I’ll leave it at that.

          We can support policies today that will yield a better tomorrow. We can open the flood gates of communication between individuals, communities, and nations on a grass roots level and warp our perceptions of nationhood. It starts with language and it ends with culture.

          Finally, I appreciate your comments. it’s always nice to engage with readers rather than just sitting in silence. I feel satisfied that I’ve elaborated on my positions here. Feel free to tell the world if you feel I’ve misunderstood your views :).

          1. Robin Dunbar discusses the evolution or language as a behavioral mechanism. Essentially if a being is to live in groups larger than forty other beings then one needs a way to communicate better. We go from grooming as a form of identity within the group to being able to pass on information about other members. It is the free rider problem in society and language helps us to keep free riding in check. Group membership matters greatly. Once a tribe, which is a collection of families who are related at various distances, goes beyond 160 members the tribe will split into two or even three groups with each seeking their own area of resources. In our modern world we have ignored this “fact” because we live is such a densely populated environment. Yet the idea of “span of control” dominates business management and military command.

            What we do with information is a matter of how we arrange and define it, the categories we assign information so as to separate it into useful chunks. If one is teaching anthropology at the introduction level one approaches the subject at the 30,000 foot level with the understanding that it is a broad overview, although many of those first year students think one introduction course makes them an expert in the matter. But an introductory course is an arbitrary choice of what one should know so as to build upon what the expert may believe is the proper foundation so as to allow knowledge expansion in an orderly and rational manner. The problem in such an overview is that the knowledge that is deemed valid and required should be rational and logical.

            John Rawls wrote a tome on justice and he tried to set out his reasoning. But by the end of his book one could only think that his logic was severely waterboarded. Justice was what he said it was and who do you think you are to question him.

            Human behavior is largely stimulus – response – reward. That is, human response is largely action of one kind or another. Even thought is action in the sense that it shapes one’s actions. But abstract forms are very difficult as Socrates, Plato, and others have pointed out. What is abstract is difficult to define and logic often fails us in such a labor. Abstraction, by its very definition is a removal from reality. What is a One, a Two, or a Million? Until I associate that abstract with numeration of things, it doesn’t exist in reality. Ideals do not exist in reality. Thus we learn to try and associate them however imperfectly with the things of reality. Things can be physical and they can be emotional or simple thoughts. If I think a woman is beautiful am I comparing her to some ideal form of beauty? No, not really. I am only comparing her to other women I have seen in my experiences of looking at women. And my idea of her beauty is based on my past experiences which include culture.

            So what am I to make of this exercise? Simply that the more we look at culture in detail the more we realize that it is not some ideal form but a collection of individual experiences that have some unity but never an exact meaning. Logically speaking we may say that culture is intersection and union. It is intersection in that we have some contact, some knowledge however imperfect and conscious. It is union in that sense of how much we identify with its morals, goals, and values, even if such things are more vague to us that to others. Identity is very important to each individual because if we lose it we literally lose ourselves. We gain that sense of identity from a number of concepts we hold about ourselves and culture is more than tangential. One can change laws from the top down and still expect that individuals will cooperate as they always have in their groups and larger societies. But trying to change culture from the top down is a dangerous action because one relies more on force or oppression, if you wish, to gain the desired “cooperation” of the collective individuals and groups. We can outlaw bullfighting but we can’t outlaw the ideal that bullfighting is a great sport, art, and skill. If we outlaw bullfighting then we rely of successive generations to forget about the art, skill, and sport and thus bring to bear the social prohibition against clandestine bull fighting. We have outlawed dog fighting, cock fighting, and the like but these activities still exist in a clandestine manner. But we have a strong prohibition and social reaction against such activities when found out. This means that the general culture supports a prohibition but specific elements do not. cultural change is never absolute

            So I look forward to your next installment in defining your brave new world..

  4. Hello,

    This has all been a very interesting read – I arrived here by my search on critiques of corporate culture. I enjoyed that article especially the part on the taboo discussion of our military. I grew up mostly overseas on a military base. I was amazed with the Military “culture” and how patriotism was framed. It was especially fascinating that it was my mother that was in the military. I appreciate this type of forum.

    I enjoyed the back/forth discussion with williambean2014 and would say that I side with him in that it may not be culture to blame for the disconnect and barrier between people. Where does greed, control or empathy come in to play in any of this? Cultural, ideological or political differences shouldn’t play a part in our division if everyone can agree to common decency. Our presidential election is proof that we can not agree on these matters. Heavy handed labeling doesn’t seem to be helping anything either; whether you are conservative, liberal or alt-Organicist.

    I am also not sure that “social media” presents a cure for this disconnect in our society. I feel it has only exacerbated our differences. I feel communication without accountability or ownership is not always too constructive. It appears now facts are even debatable.

    “Culture is the base root of most evil that we face. Religious, ethnic, or nationalistic conflict
    would be solved if society merely encouraged a differing perspective on how to assimilate
    outsiders. ”

    “Assimilate outsiders”? Yikes. This sounds too much like homogenization. The idea of assimilating people of different religious belief systems is curious. I’m not sure i’m following your train of thought on how that is accomplished. Maybe we can get all the gods together to agree on just one of them? You have to give credit to the Mormons, they’ve come a long way – as have most religions slowly adapting to the newly defined acceptable social norms. I still remain hopeful for a trans-atheist god who doubt’s “it’s” own existence.

    “Our social world needs more communication, more data, and not less.” What kind of data? Who controls this data?

    I reworked this line a little:
    “Our social world needs more understanding, acceptance and less selfie stick”.

    1. Hi Tim,

      Thanks for stopping by. I apologize for the delay in responding, life has its own priority list sometimes. I’ll go top to bottom.

      “Cultural, ideological or political differences shouldn’t play a part in our division if everyone can agree to common decency.”

      The term ‘common decency’ is an ideological one. What you view as decent and normal (kicking your kids out at age of 18 to live on their own) is abusive and cruel (to societies where extended families live together in one household). There are a few ‘cultural universals’ as they are known, such as the evils of murder, sex between a son and mother, burial rituals, etc. But those core beliefs are not what people fight over and they rarely if ever (unless attempting to sway a psychopath in the mist of a killing spree) problematic.

      As the number of human beings on this planet grows the attempts at fixing our societal issues intensifies. The point of any political system is to convince people that pathway X is superior to pathway Y. I do not subscribe to the frankly naive viewpoint that there is a ‘middle way’ which is ‘more decent’ to everyone and politically agreeable to all. If you know of such a mutually agreeable system then please share.

      ““Assimilate outsiders”? Yikes. This sounds too much like homogenization. The idea of assimilating people of different religious belief systems is curious. I’m not sure i’m following your train of thought on how that is accomplished. ”

      What else would you call it when a refugee from a foreign land learns the native language and begins following the customs? If that’s not cultural assimilation of outsiders then I don’t know what is. I don’t think this is ominous or scary, but rather wholly natural and occurring constantly. It is only when people do NOT assimilate that everyone worries. When large populations of foreigners refuse to speak the native language, live in a ethnically segregated neighborhoods and only interact with each other. This is a failure of society because the knowledge and skills of those secluded individuals are not being tapped into the greater world.

      If any of those men or women secretly had the potential to be incredible physicists we would never know and be unable to train them, all because we allowed for our society to remain fragmented and segregated.

      ““Our social world needs more communication, more data, and not less.” What kind of data? Who controls this data?”

      I think my post is very clear on the type of data I am talking about here. As far as who controls it, that is entirely dependent on the specific type of data being discussed.

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