The Influence of Culture, Essay Example
What is culture?
Culture can be defined as the shred patterns of interactions, behaviors, effective understanding and cognitive constructs as well as effective understanding that are acquired through the socialization process. The shared pattern identifies members of certain culture group and at the same time distinguishes it from other groups.
The American culture
The United States culture is a western culture, which originated from various European cultures. Its development has been going on long even before the formation of the country itself with its unique cultural and social characteristics like art, music dialect, cuisine, folklore and social habits. Nowadays the USA is a racially and ethnically diverse country due to the large-scale immigration of its citizens from all spheres of the world throughout history (Agger, 2002).
The main early influences originated from Scottish, welsh, Irish and English migrants from the colonial America. Because of the colonial ties with Great Britain, America adopted the English language, other cultural inheritances as well as the legal system. Other major influences originated from mainly Germany and France.
Other original element also has a major influence like the development of Jefferson democracy. The late great Thomas Jefferson’s writing about the state of Virginia was most likely the 1st influential domestic cultural critic to be written by an American to the European consensus that the originality of the Americans was degenerated.
The American culture includes liberal as well as conservative elements, the military, political structures, free expression, scientific competitiveness, liberal elements, moral and materialist elements. Regardless of its consistent ideological principals like faith in freedom, democracy, egalitarianism and individualism, American culture includes many different expressions because of its demographic diversity and geographical scale. Because of the flexibility of the culture, many researchers have resulted to referring it as mythic identity (Williams, 2008).
The USA has for many years been classified as a melting point, but recently due to the developments of trends towards cultural pluralism, diversity and image, it has been now referred to the salad bowl. The USA’s cultural affiliations of individuals may greatly depend on the political orientation, social class and many demographic characteristics like occupation, membership of an ethnic group or the religious background.
The influence of culture towards people’s thoughts
Culture is ever changing and cyclical. Individuals are the change agents of the shape of culture just the same that as culture changes the shape of thinking and lifestyles of individuals. The culture we belong to determines our most basic ethical believes and values to a certain extent that we mostly do not understand how we came to hold on to these believes. Our language, ideologies of beauty and our various views towards our natural inclinations such as violence and sexuality are determined by our culture. In all cases, an individual in a society has the freedom to rebel against or accept his/ her cultural teachings, but one can never be completely separated from them.
Human being primarily learns their culture from their early childhood especially from peers, authority figures and the parents. The impressions that we learn turnout to be our initial norms, our weighing scale of weighing our ideas and things that we will eventually encounter in our future lives. All these norms are prone to change through future awareness or education. The initial norms results from conditioning, that is, we awarded or punished by our rebellion or acceptance towards these norms. During the time of our education, not considering formal education, we come across different encounters like conversations, books, television and movies and we end up weighing the ideas presented either consciously or subconsciously against the norms that we have already accepted. By these process, chances are either we accept the new ideas or reject them. Most of the ideas that we have already accepted and are encountered again in the media become reinforcements to our norms. The whole combination of these norms becomes our worldviews. These worldviews differs from one person to the other but the corner stone norms that exist in the whole population are referred to as culture. The culture determines the traditions that we keenly observe, the production of our art and finally the taboos that we shun (Bathrick, 2002).
Our psychology is greatly affected by the culture we belong to. All aspects from the way in which we appreciate and celebrate success, to the way we conduct our moaning of our dead, the way we handle illnesses is on a higher degree influenced by our cultural norms.
In addition, the way we recognize ourselves as individuals, the way we see the world that is around us is influenced by our culture. The degree of extent at which the cultural heritage influences our own images is most of the times underestimated but in the real sense, it is like an invisible large mammal in our psyche.
This is because as human beings we formulate ideas about the world around us and ourselves. Who we are as well as how well we blend in the worlds from the relationship that exist between us and our parents from the early years. If our earlier parents were suffering from trauma pains, it is very easy to pass the pain to the toddlers that they are nursing and before long, the young child develops a way of thinking that the world is filled with suffering and pain. It is appropriate to conclude that our thoughts are a subject of the culture that we belong.
Agger, B. (2002). Cultural Studies as Cultural Theory. London: Falmer Press.
Bathrick, D. (2002). Introduction to Scholarship in Modern Languages and Literatures. N Y: Modern Language Association.
Williams, R. (2008). Culture and Society. London: Chatto & Windus.
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