The Culture Of Us
This is quite a complex question. In order to answer it, it may be more practical to define “culture”.
Culture is a collection of norms and beliefs within a society. This extends from food to art to our general way of life.
Based on that it might seem like everything we do, every choice we make is dependent on our cultural associations. There has been a heavy debate as to how accurate this is and to what extent.
While birds of a feather might flock together, is it the flock that dictates the overarching values, or are similar identities drawn to each other?
Cultural values and beliefs obviously are embedded in our lives. From the moment we are born, our identity is being shaped by a number of things. The first “society” we are introduced to is the family.
Our rudimentary social skills and values stem from this. As we get older, we become more aware of ourselves, our surroundings and the wider world. We are then posed with a question every time we make a decision: should I adhere to a social convention?
It might not be something that we consciously look at, but even the mundane activities are rooted in some cultural relevance.
To reiterate, culture is defined by a set of beliefs by a collective. This is not limited to ethnicity, nationality or gender. This can be a group of friends, the online friends that you occasionally interact with online.
Culture is embedded in social interaction. Some may lament over the fact that the younger population seems to replace face-to-face social meetings with social media. However, this is just another form of social interaction; this is a form that occurs online at convenience.
Online communities and groups can be a great way to share thoughts and ideas. This is part of online culture, something that millennials and members of Generation Z are embracing head-on. This is a prime example of the creation of a culture.
One concern about this is whether or not this is a positive thing. Being influenced by something external has its drawbacks, but this is something that is a double-edged sword. The downside of external influence is that some moral codes and behavioral norms might not reflect the forward-thinking spirit of the new age.
Fortunately, the current Internet Age allows us to connect and explore cultures and communities outside of our own. For the first time, we have been able to create a platform where we can construct global societies and the values therein, completely unobstructed by geographic location.
This also allows the individual to be an instrument of change. Culture might influence us to some degree, but the individual is the one with the choice to adhere to their beliefs or to challenge them.
In the Caribbean, the culture is very different from that of the rest of the world, mostly due to our unique history. Part of what makes us unique is the fact that we are a conglomerate of many different other cultures. Caribbean diaspora is also scattered around the world, allowing it to be stretch to all ends of the Earth.
The main purpose of a culture is to be shared, and in the age of fast media, it is easily accessible.