Culture: Where do We Go From Here?

Culture is a catch-all word that encompasses a great many categories and ideas about how human beings live. On one level, culture is about what we do every day. For example, if we leave our homes to go to work our culture is about why we go to work, how we go to work, what we wear to work and what we do at work. Our behavior and attitudes towards work are part of our culture.

Another meaning of culture is the art and ideas that a group of people produce. To be cultured, means one is familiar with and understands what is considered the best of one’s culture. 

On a more abstract level, culture explains who we are as well as our individual roles in society. A stable culture offers explanations of itself to us that are consistent and understandable. To do this effectively it must answer three fundamental questions about human life:

Who are we?
Where did we come from?
Where are we going?

An example of a cultural response to these questions is the Baltimore Catechism. It was the text used to teach young Catholics about their faith. As you can see, the first few questions from the very first chapter answers these questions in a clear and straightforward manner:

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Mind Maps and the Beach

When I was young, and working at a large company in New York, I had a friend who, like me, was a computer programmer.  This was in the early 1980s, when office walls were beige, the floors were a dull linoleum and few people had windows to the outside world. One day he brought a large poster of a rainbow into his office as an experiment.  He found that when he had visitors their eyes constantly shifted to the bright, natural colors on the poster. He eventually removed it because people could not look at him when they were talking. It was too distracting for visitors to his office. He believed that office buildings were starving people of natural color and other natural stimuli.

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