The Classification Of Cultures Essay Research Paper — страница 2

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in what IS. They are, therefore, bound to be materialistic, figurative, substantive, earthly. They are likely to prefer old age to youth, old habits to new, old buildings to modern architecture, etc. This preference of the Elders (a term of veneration) over the Youngsters (a denigrating term) typifies them strongly. These cultures are likely to be risk averse. Other cultures look to the future ? always projected ? for the same reasons. These cultures invest their efforts and resources in an ephemeral future (upon the nature or image of which there is no agreement or certainty). These cultures are, inevitably, more abstract (living in an eternal Gedankenexperiment), more imaginative, more creative (having to design multiple scenarios just to survive). They are also more likely to

have a youth cult : to prefer the young, the new, the revolutionary, the fresh ? to the old, the habitual, the predictable. They are be risk-centered and risk-assuming cultures. Static Versus Dynamic (Emergent) Cultures Consensus versus Conflictual Cultures Some cultures are more cohesive, coherent, rigid and well-bounded and constrained. As a result, they will maintain an unchanging nature and be static. They discourage anything which could unbalance them or perturb their equilibrium and homeostasis. These cultures encourage consensus-building, teamwork, togetherness and we-ness, mass experiences, social sanctions and social regulation, structured socialization, peer loyalty, belonging, homogeneity, identity formation through allegiance to a group. These cultures employ numerous

self-preservation mechanisms and strict hierarchy, obedience, discipline, discrimination (by sex, by race, above all, by age and familial affiliation). Other cultures seem more “ruffled”, “arbitrary”, or disturbed. They are pluralistic, heterogeneous and torn. These are the dynamic (or, fashionably, the emergent) cultures. They encourage conflict as the main arbiter in the social and economic spheres (”the invisible hand of the market” or the American “checks and balances”), contractual and transactional relationships, partisanship, utilitarianism, heterogeneity, self fulfilment, fluidity of the social structures, democracy. Exogenic-extrinsic Meaning Cultures Versus Endogenic-intrinsic Meaning Cultures Some cultures derive their sense of meaning, of direction and

of the resulting wish-fulfillment by referring to frameworks which are outside them or bigger than them. They derive meaning only through incorporation or reference. The encompassing framework could be God, History, the Nation, a Calling or a Mission, a larger Social Structure, a Doctrine, an Ideology, or a Value or Belief System, an Enemy, a Friend, the Future ? anything qualifies which is bigger and outside the meaning-seeking culture. Other cultures derive their sense of meaning, of direction and of the resulting wish fulfilment by referring to themselves ? and to themselves only. It is not that these cultures ignore the past ? they just do not re-live it. It is not that they do not possess a Values or a Belief System or even an ideology ? it is that they are open to the

possibility of altering it. While in the first type of cultures, Man is meaningless were it not for the outside systems which endow him with meaning ? In the latter the outside systems are meaningless were it not for Man who endows them with meaning. Virtually Revolutionary Cultures versus Structurally-Paradigmatically Revolutionary Cultures All cultures ? no matter how inert and conservative ? evolve through the differential phases. These phases are transitory and, therefore, revolutionary in nature. Still, there are two types of revolution : The Virtual Revolution is a change (sometimes, radical) of the structure ? while the content is mostly preserved. It is very much like changing the hardware without changing any of the software in a computer. The other kind of revolution is

more profound. It usually involves the transformation or metamorphosis of both structure and content. In other cases, the structures remain intact ? but they are hollowed out, their previous content replaced by new one. This is a change of paradigm (superbly described by the late Thomas Kuhn in his masterpiece: “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”). The Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome Differentiating Factor As a result of all the above, cultures react with shock either to change or to its absence. A taxonomy of cultures can be established along these lines: Those cultures which regard change as a trauma ? and those who traumatically react to the absence of change, to paralysis and stagnation. This is true in every sphere of life : the economic, the social, in the arts,