Category Archives: Cultural

Diversity Doesn’t Have to Be a Collision of Cultures

Tolerance vs. Acceptance

By definition, “tolerance” refers to the concept of dealing with something that you may not like. For example, you can tolerate a crying child in a restaurant without voicing your displeasure. The same applies for virtually anything else. If you strongly dislike the religious beliefs of your co-worker or peer, you tolerate it to prevent coming off as prejudiced. While tolerance allows society to effectively bury things like racism, sexism, homophobia or religious discrimination, it fails to actually put an end to such beliefs. In short, hiding a problem and calling it “tolerance” may treat the symptoms, but the underlying issue is still very much there.

Unlike tolerance, “acceptance” is about understanding, appreciating and embracing people’s differences. Acceptance gives you the ability to see beyond things like skin color or culture and interact with everyone equally as human beings. Most importantly, accepting people’s differences allows for the free exchange of ideas, taking the best practices of every nationality and incorporating it into areas like business, art, politics and science.

Defeating Ethnocentrism

Ethnocentrism is the process of judging other cultures based on our own. It’s a challenging thing to overcome, since we tend to perceive our own customs and ideas as “normal”. Consequently, this creates a barrier to acceptance that needs to be broken. If you fall into this cycle, there are ways you can challenge yourself to overcome it.

First, you should work to put your own beliefs and practices aside when evaluating others. Instead, turn your mind into a cultural, religious or racial “blank slate”. For example, ask yourself if you’d be as shocked by something like arranged marriage if you had been born in a country where this was common. Is it really as “bad” as you think it is through the lens of your own beliefs? Chances are, the answer you’ll arrive at is “no”.

Second, don’t allow the negative practices of some countries to cloud your judgment when it comes to peers. There are many aspects of other cultures that are considered dangerous or harmful, regardless of location. Honor killings, beheadings and oppression of women, for instance, hurt society as a whole — some are even prohibited by international law. Nonetheless, don’t assume that everyone belonging to this particular group approves of such things. In many cases, the theocracies or dictatorships in some of these countries makes opposition or change very difficult.

Education

The best way to fight ignorance is through education. Even if you don’t take issue with foreign customs, it never hurts to immerse yourself in other cultures as much as possible. If you have the opportunity, interact with a diverse group of people and make an effort to learn about the things that make different cultures unique. You may even decide to take some of those beliefs and practices and incorporate them into your own daily life.

The reality is that there is no such thing as a 100% original culture. Every country developed its practices through thousands of years of immigration, trade and even conquest. The sooner we understand this, the sooner we can accept and use such differences to continuously improve our society — and ourselves.

Why the Complexity of a Culture Is Dependent on the Size of a Mass Mind

While the amount of recorded history, memetic remnants of the phases the culture has gone through and the amount of information available for the individual are all important parts to count to be a part of the complexity of a culture, the amount of members of a culture that form the culture’s mass mind defines the complexity the culture can sustain.

Cultures are able to move forwards through time in the form of representational awareness in the individuals that assimilate the content of it (cultural assimilation) after their birth, hence becoming a part of the mass mind the existence of a complex culture is dependent on. Why? When we consider that the capacity an individual has in her brains determines how much knowledge it can contain and creatively produce in relativity with the units of information she has in the potential of her capacity, we can observe how it increase the more individuals are a part of the mass mind of a culture.

We can also observe that why the complexity of a culture is dependent on the size of a mass mind in that how many of persons of the society can function for example as artists, scientists, philosophers and so forth inside the infrastructure the population inhabits, sustains and develops. A person who lives in a small town will not be able to have an opportunity to live in an as complex culture a city of tens of millions of individuals can sustain, where the personal histories can vary in extreme differences, while a mass mind who lacks the complexity, development oriented research institutes and sophisticated internal organization cannot host a culture that by our definitions could be called as developed.

We could propose as a rule that the more the complexity of a culture increases, the more the potential for individualizing variation increases. Why? Because the possible sources for the development of personal history increases as do the resources in the level of knowledge increase for the shaping of the individual’s representational awareness. And as the sense of reality is representational, the representational reality is what is inherited by the new generation who are born to advance in themselves the threshold of the emerging future forms of reality. And this very complexity makes the future of a culture unpredictable. A mass mind where persons from a variety of even millions of backgrounds are merging when they meet by interacting, being influenced by the causal history of the culture, gathering and sharing experiences, while going forwards through unknown destinations.

Copyright © 2010 Henry M. Piironen