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TheCreative's avatar

Why do we need culture?

Asked by TheCreative (1210points) May 31st, 2009

We had a discussion in class and we need to write a paper on it. I’m not sure how to express why we need it (and i don’t really have an opinion on it). Anyone know why culture is an important part of our lives? Many thanks.

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28 Answers

cyn's avatar

some cultures just don’t make sense :(

AstroChuck's avatar

Well for one, if there was no culture there would be no cheese or yogurt.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

Take all culture out of human existence and what are you left with? It permeates everything, upbringing, business practices, what technologies are seen as useful or not…

Blondesjon's avatar

We don’t. Culture is a fancy word to describe “herd mentality”.

bigcharles's avatar

The assignment is for YOU to exercise your mind, search your heart, and create an original answer. You will not learn to think independently if others to do it for you. First, identify your preferred definition of culture. Then ask yourself what the world would be like without it. What would happen to our heritage? Our sense of history? Our sense of place in the world? Don’t ask here – think for yourself, and develop answers that reflect what YOU think. If you truly don’t know what you think then you’re not thinking long enough and hard enough. Learning is a privilege, not a right. Use it wisely. Good luck!

kheredia's avatar

I personally believe that culture is the reason why so many countries are still third world countries. I think culture prevents us from thinking rationally. Culture engraves old traditional ideas into peoples heads which prevents them from ever becoming more productive individuals. I’m not saying everything involved with culture is bad, i’m just saying some cultures need to be tweaked a little.

TheCreative's avatar

Thank you for all of your replys. I really appreciate it.
(Thanks for your answers @bigcharles and @kheredia)

TheCreative's avatar

@kheredia Yes! I agree! This is what I was thinking earlier. What is the point of tradition and why must we be forced to do things certain ways because of our culture?

asmonet's avatar

@kheredia: Something about your post does not sit well with me. Perhaps you intended it to be less abrasive.

bigcharles's avatar

Maybe we can look at culture and tradition as things that provide points of reference – and not necessarily things we have to follow…

dannyc's avatar

Need it or not, it is there. It shapes people in a way, or gives them meaning to what is a confusing Earth. We also have ingrained tendencies to belong to a group. This culture manifests itself in the rituals and customs that we recognize. I personally think that as humans advance they will not need these trappings as much. We will learn to define ourselves without including the ritualistic cultural plethora that is exhibited today.

kheredia's avatar

@asmonet I wasn’t trying to be offensive although I can see how that can happen. I guess I’m talking mainly about the culture and traditions that I grew up with. I just feel that I could have lived my life better if I didn’t always have the guilt that my families culture engraved into my head. I feel that my culture limited me in what I could or could not do at the time. Now, I’ve learned to overcome most of those traditional ideas but still keep the essence of the nice part of culture. Because there is always a good side and a bad side of things like this.

quasi's avatar

Google “Culture Industry” by Adorno, for some interesting perspectives on cultural production.

shadling21's avatar

I’d suggest looking into philosophy for this one.

asmonet's avatar

@kheredia: In that case, I agree with you. Good and bad go hand in hand. Your first choice in phrasing it just kinda, irked me. :)

Thanks for clarifying. :)

auspex's avatar

“No man is an island.” -John Donne

While it is possible for a human to live alone and without contact, human beings as social creatures. Culture is the set of rules that tells us how to interact with one another. Without it, Earth would be a planet populated by individual beings. We would be less organized than the birds and the bees.

btko's avatar

Culture is important because it defines our reasons for living. Without culture we are mere animals trying to survive. Good or bad, culture defines individuals and communities. I think humanity is slowly losing it’s diverse and important cultures toward a globalised “McCulture” that people have no true connection to – thus you have many negative attitudes toward culture in general.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

I think many people reserve the word ‘culture’ to refer to that which is strange, foreign, or unpleasant to them. Meanwhile the culture they live in from moment to moment goes unnoticed and unremarked as the air they breathe. Culture is not confined to just opera, poetry and the other arts.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Blondesjon If culture = herd mentality, what label do you use for art, music, and civilized cohesiveness? For that matter, isn’t the opposite of herd mentality, or ‘independence’, also a form of culture.

Blondesjon's avatar

@YARNLADY . . .They are all things that we use to fool ourselves into thinking we are something special.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m really confused about what you think “culture” is. I thought culture was the way a group of people related to each other. Every group of people, no matter how big or small, has its own culture. There’s a fluther culture, a Washington culture, a Mexican culture, urban culture, goth culture, etc, etc. When anthropologists go to study culture, they can go almost anywhere.

We don’t need culture. We have it whether we want it or not. It just describes how any group of people relates to each other—the forms and behaviors of those relationships.

Now, if you’re talking about how we live within a culture when we don’t like it or when it keeps us from being who we want to be, that’s another question. I will point out that it is possible to move from culture to culture, although it’s not always easy to be accepted by a new culture. The Japanese, for example, consider everyone who has come from another country to be “gaijin” no matter how long they’ve lived in Japan. No outsider can truly get Japanese culture, so they believe.

There is high culture and low culture, but these are just value statements based on a person’s judgments. Some people think ballet is high culture and bluegrass and square dancing are low culture. Many Americans are threatened by the cultures that immigrants bring with them. Immigrants don’t have the same behavioral, food, and relationship customs as native Americans do.

Asking why we need culture is like asking why do we need color. It just is. We make use of it.

TheCreative's avatar

@daloon Yes, thank you for your answer. I agree and will think about that for a while.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Blondesjon spoken like a true pessimist.

Blondesjon's avatar

@YARNLADY . . .your label, not mine

YARNLADY's avatar

@Blondesjon merely an observation of the tone of your answer

mattbrowne's avatar

Cultural evolution works faster than genetic evolution.

bvinee's avatar

We forget that culture also gives us a set of defined code of conduct. this code of conduct has been designed to enable people to act in an acceptable dignified manner/way and also to protect them from harmful ‘uncultered’ antisocial elements. it is basically a means to protect people from other people and maintain certain practices from generation to generation.

many cultures (like the Indian culture) have certain practices that seem to be very unique. many practices seem weird….like not allowing women to enter the kitchen during menses…..but that was mainly done to give women an opportunity to rest when they need it most.

hence, culture is necessary…

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