Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Significance of Culture

by Antonio C. Antonio
January 6, 2015

The employees of one of the biggest corporation in the Philippines will always greet each other “good morning” even at 4 in the afternoon; and we say it’s part of their corporate “culture”.  When a person is amiable and nice, we say it’s part of his “culture”.  When people are rude and ill-mannered, we say it’s part of their “culture”. When someone is ugly, we say it’s part of his “culture” (laughs).  So what then is “culture” or, more precisely, what is the “concept of culture”?  Sounds daunting, isn’t it?

The term “culture” is defined as:
  • The cumulative deposit of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the universe, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving.
  • The systems of knowledge shared by a relatively large group of people.
  • Communication, communication is culture.
  • In its broadest sense, is cultivated behaviour; that is the totality of a person’s learned, accumulated experience which is socially transmitted, or more briefly, behaviour through social learning.
  • A way of life of a group of people --- the behaviour, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.
  • Symbiotic communication.  Some of its symbols include a group’s skill, knowledge, attitudes, values, and motives.  The meanings of the symbols are learned and deliberately perpetuated in a society through its institutions.
  • Consisting of patterns, explicit and implicit, of and for behaviour acquired and transmitted by symbols, constituting the distinctive achievement of human groups, including their embodiments in artifacts; the essential core of culture consists of traditional ideas and especially their attached values; culture systems may, on the one hand, be considered as products of action, on the other hand, as conditioning influences upon further action.
  • The sum total of the learned behaviour of a group of people that are generally considered to be the tradition of that people and are transmitted from generation to generation.
  • A collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another.

Environmental studies take into account all the elements in an ecosystem… therefore, abiotic (non-living) and biotic (living) elements including, most specially, man.  It is in man that culture plays a distinctive and influential role.  “Culture”, therefore, plays a significant role that defines the dynamic interaction between man and his environment.  This is the significance of culture.

Just my little thoughts…

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