Here is my script:
Well, what is a culture? A culture, by definition, is “the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.”
This applies to the culture of humanity, comprised by many, many, subcultures. That is more the topic of interest.
In these subcultures, knowledge, history, beliefs are all boiled into a melting pot of people. But how does that affect individuals?
A persons personality is determined by their beliefs, and genetics. These individuals collectively produce a culture. Therefore it is evident that the generalization of a culture results in the generalization of the individuals in that culture. So to what extent does this affect the beliefs of the individuals in the culture?
Brain And Education:
Surely this indulgence in ones culture has been implemented for some time in an individuals life, being that the knowledge of a culture is almost instantly accepted, and rarely questioned.
If you were raised into a religious family, catholic, Christian, Mormon, Buddhist, whatever, you are unlikely to reject this “knowledge” later in life. Why? Well, its been so engrained in your life, that it has become your culture, see what I am saying?
What does education have to do with it then? Well, everything. Your education exposed you to these thoughts and your peers, influenced by the same thoughts, created a social acceptance for the thought; making the thought ‘normal’ or ‘common knowledge’. Education also is the device that allows the creation of a personal belief system, but if the belief system of your teacher is integrated into the education, the less likely you are to question the knowledge of a culture.
Brain And Education 2:
On the other end of the culture spectrum, how does education affect our ability to question the knowledge of a culture? Not question it as a culture, but rather as an individual. “The more I learn, the more I realize more and more that how I think and feel is different“
If one was educated in a system where certain beliefs were embraced, those ideas will translate as fact, rather than questioning them. For example if you were raised in a Christian school, went to Christian college, you are more than likely to be Christian and share beliefs of Christian faith.
The more you learn, the more open minded you are. The more open minded you are, the more able you are to appropriately question knowledge, therefore question the knowledge of a culture. WELCOME TO TOK CLASS, this is what we have been working on for the past year.
Examples of Culture 1:
The Nazis are the most cynical, and diabolical culture in the world. This is common knowledge to mostly all of the cultures on our planet. But lets flip the table, and see what the Nazis saw.
With the leadership and ideals of Hitler, and other Aryanism promoters, the Nazis actually believed that the Aryan race was superior. This might seem crazy to you, but this was their knowledge. Instantly a social pressure was created to accept this knowledge. You accept it, you remain in the culture you were brought up into; You deny it, you are banished from the culture.
Lets apply this to something most people can relate to.
Examples of Culture 2:
In Christianity, the common knowledge of the culture is that basically sinners go to hell. Yes you have the ability to repent your sins, by going to church and dedicating time to god, thus landing you a golden ticket into heaven.
To me, this is ridiculous. But with this insight, look at the Nazis. You more than likely believe that their knowledge is ridiculous, but to them it is as common as the law of gravity. You could walk into a bar and ask any old Nazi what the superior race is and they would reply “Well, the Aryan race of course” as if they were stating that the sky was blue.
They don’t even think to question it, for it is their cultures knowledge. That is the point I am trying to make. That the knowledge of a culture affects an individual’s knowledge, and their ability to question knowledge
Examples of Culture 3:
Continuing on, lets evaluate the Muslim Brotherhood’s culture. They firmly believe in the superiority of man in society. Compared to what Americans believe and understand this is unethical. But based on their developed culture, this knowledge still remains. The individuals brought up in the culture don’t question it because it is fact to them. It is like questioning god’s word, which is questioning their mother cultures word.
Do your beliefs define your culture?
Yes they do! Individuals may adopt aspects of multiple cultures, but which one defines them the best. The one that tells the individual how to live. The culture which drives how a person should live, whether it is a cultural revolution, or a religion, the culture which defines how you live is going to define your actions. So how does this affect independent thought? Well it hinders your ability to question your cultures beliefs.
One cannot draw a general conclusion with such a massive topic, but I will state my observations: Culture is a major factor in the shaping of ones character, so yes, the beliefs of a culture do affect individuals beliefs. From this the ability to apply new beliefs or knowledge to ones preexisting cultural beliefs is harder due the preconceived notion of what is right and wrong. This is especially true with cultures that have beliefs on how one should live.