a reply to: onequestion
I understand exactly where the points you are making are coming from, and I want to address them in a manner commensurate with their importance.
Let me begin by thanking you for being awake enough, not just to realise that someone needed help, but to actually provide it. This is, as you
rightly point out, a basic responsibility that every human being has toward every other human being, and one which is not fulfilled as often as one
would like in this apparently enlightened time in human history.
But as to your suggestion that the culture of which "we" are a part, being the most selfish on the planet, I disagree. You see, culture is about more
than mere national identity, religious affiliation, or political leaning. Cultures exist WITHIN those concepts, many of them. And it is also true that
one individual might be adherent to several cultures within their nation, and indeed within the world stage as well, without necessarily ever
considering their membership of them, and what it means for them.
I am part of a different set of cultures, largely speaking, than the ones which my neighbour is a part of. Despite the fact that we are both "white",
British males, we operate in entirely different social circles, aside from the fact that we live and work around the same area, and have local
business contacts in common in some respects. However, he and I respond to stimuli rather differently, and have utterly different choices in friends
and modes of behaviour. We think about entirely different things, and operate on entirely different levels in our daily lives, and in terms of the way
our intellects operate.
We are as separate from one another, as it is possible to be, without being physically removed from one another, and so it is not accurate to say
that we are of the same culture broadly speaking, despite our proximity to one another. Culture is a tricky thing, therefore. One must learn, before
considering whether a culture is selfish or worthy of any other title, whether coveted, or shameful in its aspect, which exact culture one means. For
example, I am a citizen of the United Kingdom, and that is part of what is broadly described as the Western Developed bloc of nations, inclusive of
most of Europe, the United States of America and Canada to name but a small few.
If you asked me, however, what culture I belong to, I would say that I am a human being, a Christian, and a metalhead, in various different orders
depending on how drunk I happen to be, but none the less, I would get to my nationality last, despite being proud to be British.
The reason for that, is that the cultures I subscribe to by choice, are the ones which teach one the most about me as a person. I choose to recognise
my humanity above many other things, because that binds me to my fellow human beings, and although I have no choice about which species I entered into
at birth, being conscious of my place within the great whirl of human history means that I am obligated in a way that those who ignore this facet of
existence might find alien to them.
I choose to follow the teachings of Christ where I can, because I believe that done right, adherence to the philosophy taught by him is beneficial to
the individual, and to the wider community as a whole. Note, I did clarify DONE RIGHT! There have been many cultures which have failed to recognise
the danger inherent in handing over spiritual validation to a human controlled entity, like a priest for example. I am NOT a part of such a culture.
My faith is between myself and my God, and may God help anyone who seeks to interfere between us.
I am a metalhead. I like my music to be loud, violent, chaotic, anarchic, and frenzied in its pace. I like it like that for many reasons, the energy
in the sound being one of them, but by no means the only thing I like about it. There are many things about metal which appeal to me, and they are too
numerous to go into without creating thread drift.
These are all cultures of which I am a part. They are not all of the cultures of which I am a part however, and the Venn diagram which describes my
life in cultures, would probably resemble a Spirograph created in a fit of the most severe hallucinatory episode imaginable. And in that way I am far
from unique. Most people on this planet are part of a number of cultures, not just one. It is the subcultural interactions which human beings harbour,
which affect their capacity for things like compassion, empathy, and courage.
Choosing which subcultures one involves oneself with, and making sure that one is in more control of those effects, rather than being controlled by
the culture itself, these are crucial elements to this whole question. If one chooses to remain in cultures which appease fear, fear of failure, fear
of others, fear of being attacked for doing the right thing, then one will automatically start to adopt those things for oneself, unless one is
conscious of them, and acts against them.
The awareness of ones cultural position is important, and once again there are some who are, and others who are not culturally aware of themselves,
and the distinction between these positions actually highlights yet ANOTHER cultural divide which transcends things like geographical location,
religious conviction, or political spectrum placement. You and I have a culture alike, that we are the ones who act, rather than cowering behind our
assumptions and fears. We probably have a few cultures which differ as well. This website is another culture that we share alike, that we all share
alike, and within even this website, there are subcultures and side projects and mindsets which are variously shared and shunned by all of us,
depending on our construction.
The real question is, what is happening to people now, that was not before, which is making them so much less likely to be aware of their cultural
existence, or making them more likely to choose a conscious path of non-involvement. The answers to those questions are many and various, and revolve
around the artificial alteration in the value people place upon the wider, over arching culture of nationality, by governments, corporations, and
lobby blocs. These institutions realise that by making certain aspects of the meta culture that is nationality seem less than desirable, they can
divide the people against themselves which has the inevitable effect of making them easier to control.
There are a great many factors which play into all of this, but culture is a subject which is often discussed in a rather depth free manner, which
frankly seems to me like a great shame, because a better understanding of the realities of culture, the substrata which cannot be overlooked where
matters like this are concerned, would lead to a better and more broad understanding of what it means to be a human being, and that would be
beneficial for all the human race, the only culture of which all human beings are a part by birth.