For emotional and territorial reasons, every culture is valuable to the respective population. Yet, little do we know about the process our cultures have followed to become what they are today. This post talks about some of the ingredients that create the shape of our societies.
Before we think about how something happened, it is best to define that “something”. This does not only apply to culture but everything in life. Although the word can mean a lot of things, when we talk about culture, we usually refer to the social behavior and norms in a group of people.
This definition can include anything from habits and customs to beliefs and laws. No matter where you grew up, your parents, school, and social circle taught you a good amount of such social norms.
At the same time, cultures are so different as people are between them. Whereas one behavior can be praised in one part of the world, the same action may get labeled as unacceptable or even offensive for a different culture. There is no such thing as purely right or wrong action; it all depends on the setting and how you grow up.
The need to survive
Societies form because of many factors. The most fundamental reason is survival. First, it is physical survival, and then psychological and emotional survival. Because surviving in numbers is easier than surviving alone, people get together and organize themselves with the immediate goal for survival.
If our ancestors did not have the intelligence to see this, we would still live in cages, unable to communicate with each other to the extent that we do now. Hence, we are grateful for all the cultures and societies that evolved over the years. We owe so much to them that it is difficult to give justice using words.
Once the basic need to survive is met, then thousand other needs appear. We can talk about psychological needs, social needs, family needs, spiritual needs, financial needs, any number of needs. Each society and culture is responsible for meeting those needs. According to which needs the society prioritizes, the culture finds a certain shape.
The need to go beyond
Apart from the need to survive, another very crucial factor is the desire to go beyond the physical. Out of this natural desire, spiritual movements and religions develop throughout the world.
They only seem different because every culture has its way to serve this purpose. Yet, all religions and spiritual movements aim to meet the very same desire: to go beyond the physical and understand the fundamentals of life, god, divine, or however they prefer to label it.
Even though cultures seem so different between them, they are only different flavors of the same main recipe: to meet the needs of its members. Because the ingredients are not infinite, some cultures decide to focus on specific areas of life. That is why we encounter cultures that focus for example on spirituality while others prioritize financial wellbeing. It is all a matter of priorities, even for cultures.
- There is no such thing as purely right or wrong action; it all depends on the setting and how you grow up.
- Each society and culture is responsible for meeting a variety needs. According to which needs the society prioritizes, the culture finds a certain shape.
- All religions and spiritual movements aim to meet the very same desire: to go beyond the physical and understand the fundamentals of life, god, divine, or however they prefer to call it.