Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit – Jawahar Lal Nehru
Culture, according to the dictionary, is the customs, beliefs, ideas, etc. of a particular society or country. But it has expanded itself to be considered as social behaviour and norms found in human societies and share the same characteristics and knowledge among a group of people. Culture is not an invention but a cultivation that makes it a ‘way of life’ for human beings living in a particular society and country.
There are so many cultures in the world and it is often said that culture and language change after a certain kilometer. That’s the beauty of culture. Different cultures mean different languages, lifestyles, norms, habits, etc. Language, as considered, is one of the indicators to measure cultural identities for instance ‘Hindi’ describes the Indian culture (eastern culture too) while ‘English’ describes the western culture.
Culture is an affair of exchange, practise, and adoption. We can not deny cultural practises as they are part of our lifestyle. We choose, adopt, and pass culture on to our successors. From our daily routines to our food habits to behaviour to choices of products to use to communication to revolution to thoughts our culture influences everything.
The type of culture either Individualistic or collective affects and influences a person’s behaviour. Individualistic culture is, usually, referred to as “Loose culture” which is based on the belief that a person’s behaviour and attitude are their own concern and belong to them only. Such cultures are more esteemed in western societies. Whereas collective culture is based on the belief that the person’s first commitment is to society and one has to sacrifice their needs for the betterment of society. These cultures are common in eastern societies.
Both types of culture have different personality types, individualistic culture supports extrovert personality style who are more open and freer with their thoughts, conditioning, and bringing up whereas collective culture supports introverted personality type who encourages behaviours of majority and concentrates on other’s perspective for the betterment and harmony of society and small groups of people.
Our behaviour, food habits, dressing sense, beliefs are all regulated by culture. Different culture has different attires for different occasions. For instance, for a wedding ceremony, one culture favours a white colour dress code while other cultures do not. Some cultures favour putting on black colour ‘Burkha’ most of the time if outside while others do not. Some cultures favour wearing a sacred thread around the upper part of the body while others do not.
Are you a vegetarian or non-vegetarian? I am certainly a non-vegetarian. Our choices of food also have a cultural connection. In some cultures, a community or group of people do not prefer non-veg as their food habits but as soon as they step out and expose to completely different cultures, they find very few choices are left for them. Touching alcohol, beef, cigarettes, and other such habits is like committing sin in some cultural practise. Some communities also prefer plant-based food.
Mostly in the Indian culture, we have a very kind gesture to take blessing from our elders by touching their feet. We show respect to our elders by offering chairs on their arrivals and also, we are not supposed to raise voice and make an argument with them. Treating guests as a messenger of God is very common in Indian culture.
It won’t be wrong to say where we live, what we think, the groups we participate in, the activity we do, the food we enjoy, our professions, occupations, and careers are all determined by our culture. This is the most powerful tool to control humans still it is not invented but cultivated, accepted, and adopted.
The Last corner
Culture can change and influence almost everything in society except genes and hereditary. One can not turn a monkey into a human but can train them to act like humans.