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Old 05-25-2003, 08:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
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How does culture affect us?

OK. Let's take our time with this one.
As you know, I state repeatedly that humans are social beings. My reading of this situation is it operates in some of the same its ways it does with other social creatures. Bees, ants, termites are the radical examples. There is really no such thing as an "individual" bee. A bee's identity is based on its relation to its hive.

A human from a hundred thousand years ago is genetically no different from a human born today. This means you could take a cavewoman's baby and raise it in our culture and it would grow up to be indistingushable from ourselves.

OK. So next, I address the exact sort of cuture we have here today. I focus on the way it is shaped more by "entertainment" theory than any other factor. This has gotten us into a bind.

As I see it, it threatens to diminish the power of every other institution, including that shibboleth called "good parenting." It is rendering them powerless.

Also, the particular slant toward anti-social messages that skews our media skews our thoughts, our perceptions, our self-images, our lives.

I've attempted to sketch out the situation as I see it in my journal, where it is discussed at length in the past several entries.

These are and always have been the most powerful external forces operating on me and my life. Would you acknowledge these factors are at play in your life?

If so, what are the implications of this for our society and for our individuality?
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Old 05-25-2003, 10:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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i'm grining like an evil mofo. i hoped you'd do this.

as stated poorly in your journals' comment... society may have a lot more little groups of social humans than we think cuz there is simply no way whatsoever to dodge our being shaped to some extent by society.


punks wouldn't be rebelious without ruleful society.
ruleful society would not need to be rulefull if punks didn't exist.

i would love to say there's no one else like me but i rather start trying to not kid myself this day forward. i'm growing weary of living a lie.

whats halarious is how many of us 'individuals' are on here right now. how can any of us be so unique if we are on here? to post on here means you have contacted other people. that puts you in a catagory in itself.

the irony of it all is making me laugh hard.

but then again, i could easily be missing the topics point and making an ass out of myself. if that's the case, i'll live.

we all wanna be individuals -cackle-
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Old 05-25-2003, 10:47 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Anti-social messages? I see plenty of anti-authority messages from advertisers trying to tap into adolescent rage and confusion, but don't see many anti-social messages.

The way you phrase the question in the title makes it sound as though you percieve culture as a force we are unable to control, when in fact we mold culture as it molds us. Not to the same degree, by far: Most of the molding is done by those same advertisers, rather than by politicians and artists.

I think the direction of culture and how we percieve it is unduly warped by the ad industry, and unduly warped by a Hollywood movie and sitcom machine, but I see more of a disassociation from reality than a diminishment of parenting and family values.

Could you elaborate on "entertainment theory"? I feel like I'm just getting a summary of your journal ideas, because things feel a little sketchy here .
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Old 05-25-2003, 11:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Johnny Rotten,
Thanks for your interest. The fact is, I can't stop elaborating on this stuff. After a lot of attempts here in the forums, I decided to start sketching out the background from a personal view in the journal.

So, in time, my own views get elaborated, trust me...

Additional resources are valuable references.
I'll list a bibliography as soon as I scan my bookshelf for the exact titles that are relevant and will post back here. I can post the most recent I've read now and then go back and try to flesh out how the idea developed in post-modern analyses.
..............

"Life the Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality" by Neal Gabler
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Old 05-25-2003, 05:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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ART, being as we as people create the culture...the culture and the individual are the one and the same. Kinda like the "who came first, the chicked or the egg" thing....Did we create culture? Or did it create us? I tend to believe the former, from a purly logistics end.
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Old 06-02-2003, 01:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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ART . . interesting journal. My sister learned German and then went to Germany to live for 6 months when she was a student many years ago. She told me that after a while speaking German constantly she began to dream in German. I find this fascinating. If you want to find a new soul . . learn a new language.

it is hard to get my mind around the fact that my thought processes are constrained by the English language and the base 10 numerical system.

Writing in chinese in pictograms from top to bottom, or counting on an abacus must surely mean your mind will work differently . . . and yet . . like you say . . a baby raised out of context will simply grow up adopting the environment of its guardians (and most probably the religion of its guardians?) . . all of which implys that none of us has any real control over 'how' we think.

But maybe it doesn't matter. . . . just because a chinese person 'thinks differently' from an English speaking person . . it may be of no consequence . . maybe we all reach the same conclusions regardless . . like typing a letter on an Apple Mac or a PC . . it still ends up as a letter.
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Old 06-02-2003, 02:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Entertainment is a business.
This business is satisfying the "desires" of it's customer.
We are it's customer.
By each creation's success or failure, we truly shape entertainment's focus.
It's is just an exaggerated extention of our desires.

Culture however, is also a extention of our desires and our interaction.
Whatever we like, stays; whatever we don't, fades.
Yes, there is a basis that we start with,
however this changes throughout time.

And if anything entertainment has sped up & blurred these distinctions & flavors of the moment.
As it has always.

It lends back to the stories we entertained each other with,
these are a "focused" aspects of our culture.
Why we do what we do,
What we would do within a certain cultural situation.

This is a "story", an explaination of humanity,
of what it is to be human.
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Old 06-02-2003, 02:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I dont think we have as much control as you suggest. Business does not necessarily service our desires . . . . we can only choose from what is available to us . . . . . . . . I agree that if we do not choose .. then the product will fail and another will be presented to us, but we dont really get to choose what gets presented. I can only watch the tv channels which are available to me, I can only buy the clothes which are available to me, and I can only buy the food that is available. Its not an infinite choice . . we are a captive market.
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Old 06-02-2003, 02:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Rouge, first of all I'm glad to see the old avatar, I love that pic, and those books. Second, you summed up everything I had tried to say, so much better then I was able. I knew what I was thinking, but I couldnt put it into words...

Maybe thoughts arnt restricted by language...But expressing them sure as hell is.
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Old 06-02-2003, 11:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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i had to write a final paper about this, the topic being immigrants and how american culture affects them. i think the easiest way to put it is, however you let yourself be affected by it. of course it's different for everyone and doesnt have a simple answer
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Old 06-03-2003, 12:38 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by duckznutz
ART . . interesting journal. My sister learned German and then went to Germany to live for 6 months when she was a student many years ago. She told me that after a while speaking German constantly she began to dream in German. I find this fascinating. If you want to find a new soul . . learn a new language.

...

But maybe it doesn't matter. . . . just because a chinese person 'thinks differently' from an English speaking person . . it may be of no consequence . . maybe we all reach the same conclusions regardless . . like typing a letter on an Apple Mac or a PC . . it still ends up as a letter.
1) Your sister is correct. I've learned English at an early age, when my native language is Dutch. I look at English TV shows, read English web sites, and even write an English online journal... I often think in English, and occasionally dream in it too. Quite natural, really.

2) The Chinese... I heard (on a TV show once) that they think different to us a,b,c guys. They think more in pictures than in sounds/words, or something like that. They're also more interested in feelings and such accompanying words than we are - hence the oriental guys painting "words" you sometimes see; it's not really the message that matters, but the attention to detail - *how* you say it, basically.

3) What is "culture" anyway? Is art culture? Is movies/music culture? Are ads culture, or are people looking at or ignoring those ads being cultural? Do ads shape our culture, or does our culture shape the ads, or more likely, is it a two-way thing?

4) FYI, in my "culture", it is normal to be a beer-drinking football/soccer fan. I do not drink beer (EW!), and HATE sports. I could be described as a computer nerd, but don't like to spend all my time programming computers. I might be an intelectual guy, but occasionally prefer to turn off my brain and just experience the world. I'm a mystery wrapped in an enigma, yet like to talk about myself and my feelings... How do I fit in? Do I even want to fit in??? After all, I like to stay at home with my cat and computer; people are nice to talk to, but always end up boring me in the end.
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Old 06-03-2003, 03:54 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Dragonlich . . a society which enables you to live as you please, whilst letting others do their football and beer thin is a good society . . .multicultural?
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Old 06-03-2003, 06:12 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Duckznutz... yes it is a good society. But then the question becomes: is it a multi-cultural society, or a main culture that allows other cultures to exist alongside it?
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Old 06-03-2003, 01:01 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Last edited by bender; 10-21-2003 at 01:52 PM..
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Old 06-05-2003, 06:51 AM   #15 (permalink)
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rogue:
Culture does not accurately reflect us.
It reflects us as a group - to some degree. And sub-cultures reflect us as sub-groups - again, to some degree,

The reason it does not reflect us as individuals is obvious. The problem is that individuals have some powers of discrimination that groups do not. Individuals relinquish some of their powers of discrimination in order to gain group approval.

This has always resulted in groups displaying behaviors that are based on the lowest common denominator that binds the individual members together. Some groups are better than others but they all display these tendencies vis-a-vis individuals.

Second: The products sold as mass culture - entertainment, for example, have been consciously dumbed down for many centuries for the purposes of mass production. More generalized and easy to produce products sell to larger and groups. It's the "lowest common denominator" factor that lowers entertainment (and culture) toward lower levels.

As a smart guy, you can see where I'm going with this, so I won't drive it into the ground.
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Old 06-06-2003, 04:17 AM   #16 (permalink)
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bender,
...you're doin' fine, thanks!

Well, the main thing that concerns me is when "people start to question things and look for a better situation," they will have been influenced by simplistic formulas which have been mass-produced and marketed to them and which they have internalized, rather than perhaps coming to more well-considered notions of what is possible.
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Old 06-06-2003, 11:31 AM   #17 (permalink)
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whom ever has dared to look upon the culture with new eyes.

Last edited by bender; 10-21-2003 at 12:59 PM..
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