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Is It Wrong to Compare Cultures?

Brian Holdsworth

Music directed and generously provided by Paul Jernberg. Find out more about his work as a composer here: http://pauljernberg.com In today's world, if anyone makes a comparison between one culture and another, they are far too easily met with howling accusations of racism. But Culture and race, are not the same thing, so I think it's worth examining if it's valid and licit to compare cultures. And in order to answer that, we have to define what we mean by "culture", which I don't think many people can do because we're several generations into an ongoing experiment where we've jettisoned our own culture in favor of value relativism and secular pop culture which isn't true culture. So let's start with a definition. Culture is the incarnation of ideas and beliefs expressed as a way of life for a people. Now, that's not a definition I got out of a dictionary, but I'd say it's the best hybrid I can come up with based on the various things I've heard and read and I've yet to hear one that is compatible with every instance that we can think of when we think of culture. And if you disagree with that definition, try to think of examples of culture and then see if your definition really gets to the root of what that thing is or if, by chance, my definition is sitting underneath yours. So, if that's accurate, let's look at some examples to confirm it. Take something like Christianity. It begins with a set of ideas - religious doctrines - which then inform the way that people who adopt those ideas live; and because of those ideas, they develop rituals and celebrations which reinforce those ideas; all of which accumulates into what could be known as a way of life known as Christian culture. The same thing happens with Islam, it happens with Buddhism, and the same thing happens with communism. A set of ideas, Marxist/atheist ideas provide the foundational principles for how its adherents are to live their lives. And these beliefs are reflected in their rituals whether they be Sunday worship or military parades; songs, whether they be devotional hymns or revolutionary anthems; stories, whether they be readings from scripture or heroic tales of class struggle. All of these things are expressions of culture which are grounded in fundamental beliefs and ideas. And if you take nothing else away from this video, I want it to be this: culture cannot survive without those ideas and those ideas cannot survive without the reinforcement of culture. That's what culture does, it unifies people in ideas and reinforces them for them.

Is It Wrong to Compare Cultures?

Is It Wrong to Compare Cultures?
Is It Wrong to Compare Cultures?

Brian Holdsworth

Music directed and generously provided by Paul Jernberg. Find out more about his work as a composer here: http://pauljernberg.com In today's world, if anyone makes a comparison between one culture and another, they are far too easily met with howling accusations of racism. But Culture and race, are not the same thing, so I think it's worth examining if it's valid and licit to compare cultures. And in order to answer that, we have to define what we mean by "culture", which I don't think many people can do because we're several generations into an ongoing experiment where we've jettisoned our own culture in favor of value relativism and secular pop culture which isn't true culture. So let's start with a definition. Culture is the incarnation of ideas and beliefs expressed as a way of life for a people. Now, that's not a definition I got out of a dictionary, but I'd say it's the best hybrid I can come up with based on the various things I've heard and read and I've yet to hear one that is compatible with every instance that we can think of when we think of culture. And if you disagree with that definition, try to think of examples of culture and then see if your definition really gets to the root of what that thing is or if, by chance, my definition is sitting underneath yours. So, if that's accurate, let's look at some examples to confirm it. Take something like Christianity. It begins with a set of ideas - religious doctrines - which then inform the way that people who adopt those ideas live; and because of those ideas, they develop rituals and celebrations which reinforce those ideas; all of which accumulates into what could be known as a way of life known as Christian culture. The same thing happens with Islam, it happens with Buddhism, and the same thing happens with communism. A set of ideas, Marxist/atheist ideas provide the foundational principles for how its adherents are to live their lives. And these beliefs are reflected in their rituals whether they be Sunday worship or military parades; songs, whether they be devotional hymns or revolutionary anthems; stories, whether they be readings from scripture or heroic tales of class struggle. All of these things are expressions of culture which are grounded in fundamental beliefs and ideas. And if you take nothing else away from this video, I want it to be this: culture cannot survive without those ideas and those ideas cannot survive without the reinforcement of culture. That's what culture does, it unifies people in ideas and reinforces them for them.