Society and Culture are how a particular group of humans choose to approach reality, but the approach is not reality, itself. When people begin to mistake any given culture as the birthplace of reality, you’ve have found someone disconnected from it.
For instance. Look at the ghetto culture — regardless of each race — and what you see is rampant homelessness, hopelessness, anger, rebellion, mistrust and desperation. Coming from such a culture, you might expect the same of everyone you meet, regardless of from where you come.
Or reverse it, and imagine you come from happy neutral suburbia and don’t understand why some people are so vehemently passionate about something.
Or you grew up completely without want and wonder why others don’t just simply get rich?
Ultimately, each culture in which we live is an evolving construct representing a system of choices about how to approach elements of life.
Imagine that reality is a guitar, and the culture is what kind of music you play in it. If you grew up listening to country and never before heard rock music, you might not believe it could exist, or even should exist. But how you play the guitar is up to you. Your inability to do more in no way limits the guitar’s ability to be played differently.
We cannot imagine that reality necessarily must follow culture, and because every culture has limitations, never for imagine believe that because a goals seems presently impossible that you cannot at some point and in some way develop an entirely new facet of or culture entire to accomplish it!
Take a hard look at your perspective of life (which is difficult, I know), and ask yourself if just because something’s done a certain way if that is the best way for it to be done. Tradition is only as valuable as its current utility. Most often tradition HAS current utility, even if we’ve forgotten the long-term benefits of it, but there are times to discard elements of tradition. Knowing when is very difficult, but always worth a vigilant monitoring to manage.
Question everything. Do so respectfully please, but question, all the same. Force people to defend their beliefs with logic, not the blanket answers of our past. And do the same and more to yourself than to others, or else you have no place forcing them to defend their own positions and culture without your own consummate knowledge and battle-hardened beliefs for your own.
Society and culture come and go. None last forever, and none will. To imagine yours is the best merely because it exists to today is like calling today’s president (whomever that may be, Bush, Obama, Clinton, Reagan) better than our forefathers merely because the current are modern. But “modern” is meaningless, a mere snapshot of present conditions. Modern refinements, faith, science, culture, society … all of this is merely a moment in the river of humanity, and will be both better and worse than other points in history. It’s temporary, fleeting, and not merely subject to change, but guaranteed to.
So why use it as any form of hard-and-fast way of doing anything? I’m not saying don’t use it, I’m merely use what works and then discard what doesn’t.
Always take care upon which foundation you base your life. Variances are wonderful, and if you love African or Italian or Chinese or Hispanic or some multiderivative therein, just be willing to question your absolution of it, so that its downsides don’t translate anymore than necessary.
Am I telling you to hate culture? No. Just remember that culture is how a single particular group binds together under a common set of behaviors to create peace in their sequestered society and promote unity. That’s fine. But be aware that, like anything else created by man, it won’t be perfect, and weak areas can and will breed bad behaviors when self discipline flags among its members.
Your responsibility is to manage how much of each culture you accept and what you’re willing to step out to do on your own to minimize its badside in your life. And this isn’t anti-culturalism (I doubt you could ever live life without some form of culture), but only that you recognize that reality and your approach to it will never be perfectly succinct.
And that’s really all I’m trying to say.