On culture or culture wars

I stumbled upon this article and I have a few thoughts. But before I say my thoughts, we need to get a few things out of the way.

Culture has been defined as that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.

The author writes

They want to speak their native language, yet demand we accommodate them instead of learning ours too to integrate with us. They want only to have their own ways, never thinking they could embrace both our ways and their own. They want to use brute force and fear, rather than diplomacy to settle disputes. They want to treat their children as property as well, while we want to nurture them into becoming autonomous adults. This isn’t the whole of the matter, but many examples of how Western values and other values don’t quite mix as well… Many speak of a “culture war” between the West and many other 3rd world countries, and its true, we want one thing, they want another.

and first I laughed then I cried. The US is using fear around the world spreading democracy through the use of drones and fire power, but no, it is those going to the US of A who are using fear. Currently, there is an ongoing debate in the US of A around Roe Vs Wade and it is projected as fight on women’s bodies. I don’t for the life of me know what the good blogger is saying. And lest we forget, the FFRF exists specifically because in practice, the separation of state and church is lost on many Americans. She tells us western values and other values don’t mix. But what are these values?

It’s interesting that irony is lost to her. She accepts the cultural relativism thesis but then goes ahead to insist theirs is the only one that counts, that must count. There is no offer on her part to learn that of the other. Hers is the dominant one to be learned by force. Don’t you just love this!

She continues to write

People have given up the culture and language they were born into, lost everything just to come over to the West! Why?

and I am surprised things like colonialism didn’t reach her.

And we in the third world should be grateful because

Our science has lead to technologies, medical care, and progress that has decreased mortality rates across the board at all ages! We now can treat disease and illness.

as if there is American science of French science and African science. Knowledge is a product of the race. And maybe for her information, there are diseases that were unknown in some places until the white man showed up. As a cultural anthropologist, I think, a study of history is necessary.

Who knew that in America disease can’t kill you?

Compared to countries where slavery is still around, ethnic and cultural minorities and women are 3rd class citizens, a disease can kill you, infant mortality is sky high, people are slain for being “heretics”, dictators rule with an iron fist over the helpless people, corruption is rife, and so on and so on, Western values of democracy and equality and more technology to better people’s lives sounds a lot better for everyone!

There problem of death for apostasy happens in such places as Saudi Arabia which still remain bosom buddies of the US. Slavery happens mostly in Arabia. Dictators rule with support of armed forces and international partners from the west. And because she is a poor historian, some have been installed by the US after the overthrow of democratically elected governments. When it is in the third world, it’s corruption, but when it happens in the US, it is called lobbying or scandal like the Lori’s school admissions scandal. I am not saying we don’t die of disease, sometimes even preventable diseases or that we have governance problems, it is the ahistoricity in her claims that I contest.

There is a list of things you are not allowed to do, for example

  • We can’t impose our morality on them, yet they can on us when it’s convenient!
  • Even a more innocuous example, other cultures all over the world are allowed their own standards of beauty for men and women, yet we are criticized for having our own cultural ideal of beauty because that’s not “body positive”!
  • They can think freely whatever they want, and be defended by “cultural relativism” while our cultural ideas are scrutinized and nit picked to the max!

And honestly, I am lost. Who is this who is stopping Muricans from imposing their morality on others? My neighbour is asking what is American morality. I am even surprised Americans can no longer think freely what they want. These third world minions have crossed the line. They even police thoughts!

You have even been forced to tolerate the third world.

 Overall, the radical liberal snowflakes only have “tolerance” and relativism for what they pick and choose!

Who wants tolerance anyway?

And for further reading

 

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Is liberalism anti-culture?

Deneen argues that it is. That for the liberal, cultural constraints over the individual are obstacles to the pursuit of happiness and only those restraints imposed by the liberal( expansive state) are acceptable. He argues, legitimate limits upon liberty can arise only from the authority of the consent-based liberal state. In essence, the goal of the liberal project is to create a homogeneous populace all over the world, a world devoid of culture.

He argues further, and I agree in part, that a healthy culture is akin to healthy agriculture which industrialized agriculture is not as its aims is to overcome natural limits through short-term solutions whose consequences will be left for future generations. These solutions, he lists, petroleum based fertilizers, genetically engineered crops that encourage increased use of herbicides and pesticides whose genetic lines cannot be contained or predicted; widespread use of plant monoculture that displace local varieties and practices etc. He writes, and most would agree, that the above practices eliminate existing farming cultures.

who is the person of culture?

Romain Rolland says

the true man of culture is not he who makes of himself and his ideal the centre of the universe, but who looking around him sees, as in the sky, the stream of the Milky Way, thousands of little flames which flow with his own; and who seeks neither to absorb them nor to impose upon them his own course, but to give himself the religious persuasion of their value and of the common source of the fire by which all alike are fed.

 

Man Vs the men or just breasts

No, I am not talking about Mencken’s letters to La Monte by the same title. I am writing about man as he is in the African setting, or rather in traditional African setting.

John Mbiti writes

Only in terms of other people does the individual become conscious of his own being, his own duties, his privileges and responsibilities towards himself and towards other people.

[…] Whatever happens to the individual, happens to the whole group, and whatever happens to the whole group happens to the individual. The individual can only say; I am because we are and since we are, therefore I am.

Elsewhere, commenting not about relationship between men and others, but on breasts and breastfeeding moms, he writes

African women, as a rule, suckle their children anywhere taking out their breasts  openly and without any feeling of embarrassment or shame. Breasts are the symbols of life, and the bigger they are, the more people appreciate them; they are a sign that the woman has an amply supply of milk for the child. There is nothing naked or sexy about nursing mothers exposing their breasts to suckle their children in market places etc; those who judge such mothers as being indecent must revise their understanding of African concept of what constitutes nakedness.

culture

IN a beautiful book, Finite and Infinite games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility, Carse J.P defines culture as whatever we do with each other by undirected choice. He goes further to write that culture is “the realm of the variable, free, not necessarily universal, of all that cannot lay claim to compulsive authority”.

HE goes on to write culture  is designed to serve societal interests in every case-like the socialist realism of Soviet art. Society we are told is the sum of those relations that are under some form of public constraint.

Carse continues to write that culture has no boundaries. Anyone can be a participant in a culture anywhere
and at any time. The life of culture, he tells us

Deviancy, however, is the very essence of culture. Whoever merely follows the script, merely repeating the past, is culturally impoverished.

Elsewhere, that is wikipedia, culture is defined as the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively or the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society,

Do we have a rape culture? What societal interests would be served by rape?

IS the definition of culture by Carse or from wiki narrow?

Blog break 8: Help needed

Folks, I have discovered that my mind plays tricks on me. It seems to me that it is quite able to deal with, what in many cases are, difficult concepts but find what everyone else considers simple and normal problematic to say the least. It is in connection with one of such problems that am calling  for help.

My problem has been to find a reason why our species really must get married and I will start by saying I have asked a number of friends for answers. I will list the answers below and what I thought about them, and I could be wrong- the more reason am asking for help.

  • Love

This is a difficult concept for me to wrap my head around. When someone says they are in love, what does this mean? Is its meaning universal or does it mean different things to different people. One then has to find someone where this concept means the same thing and find heaven on earth!  I find it is one of those concepts that have been bandied around that maybe it has lost the meaning it originally had.   Does the original concept go like “Love is patient, kind, always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres”?  In your opinion, which of these theories are practical and how then can we measure adequate love to amount to marriage (what are the thresholds involved?).  what happens when it wears out… what can replaces the love that you once felt…. A dildo maybe?  So am hoping that those friends of mine who have been married several years will help here.

  • Companionship

By this I understand it’s someone to talk to or share with. Do you require this person daily or just on occasions and what happens if this one person is no more? Do you get a cat or do you get the second replacement?  To add to this, is that why we have cases of spouses plotting to kill another?  When the partner finds another to share and talk to – is this void after the person is no more, is too much to bear?

  •  Security

This has been the most difficult to make sense of. Many of the people I have talked with by this mean financial security which I find to be ridiculous because the person could lose their jobs or better still die. Is this a valid reason to get married?

  • Procreation

Unless the package includes staying together to raise the children, I think this is not sufficient reason to get married. One can adopt a kid What if both are not possible due to financial and suitability constraints, does that occur to any married couples? Besides I truly think the time when the maxim go yea and fill the earth made sense is way gone. There are enough of us already and I think the earth could do with a little break from births for a few years, just dreaming :-P.

  • A sense of Responsibility

Does one being in this institution make them work harder than one who isn’t?  A theory or a myth, that I wish my dear friends would help me understand.   Don’t we all meet at the bus stop at the same time and return back home almost by the same bus?  How is someone in marriage more responsible than one who ain’t…. what weighing scale can we use to measure this responsibility?

  • Society and family obligation

In many cultures one is expected to get married at some point.  This builds up a cultural pressure when both reach this desired ‘marriageable’ age (ripe for marriage).   To fulfill this egocentric, belittling notion, my friend had to oblige and get a bride!  A bride that has to be acceptable by the community and his family.  Is the bride for the society/family… makes me wonder, is she really your bride at the end of the day? Are members of the species getting married because of these societal pressures?

  • Gods command and love

Really? Does God therefore hate the single ladies and senior bachelors who have made a choice to remain as they are?  For the god believers, please tell me, is your god’s loves so limited that he/she can’t distribute it equally among his brood and what happens then to those who are married? Do they lose out on this supposed love since I had someone say that god loves those who are in perfect? marriages!  Please educate me here?

Lastly I don’t know whether this happens elsewhere or just here in the neck of woods. Many times aspiring couples invite friends for committee meetings where the friends are to help with planning for the wedding they should help fund this enterprise. Now am not against those who feel enamored by this contributions, but seriously why should someone else fund your fancy? Why not have a wedding that you can afford besides it is a one day affair? Maybe am missing something here and I really need help.

There is the very last bit that I think happens in many East African cultures and in the east where bride price or dowry is paid. I don’t know if it still happens in the west or it has been dropped. I have listened to all the reasons for paying either and in my view they all come short. In my view, it boils down to seeing a woman as something to be possessed, just as we possess our other gadgets. I get it that it is cultural. In my anthropology class at the university one of the things I learnt about culture is that it is adaptive, fluid and not cast on stone. Isn’t it time for the committees, whoever the members, looked into this matters and advised or proposed a way forward. I don’t see why people should be slaves of the dead men and women who came before them. I realize by saying this it will be said of me to be a person without roots, and just so you know, I don’t really care much about roots. Soon I will be dead, I see no need of living my life as a slave of a man or woman who died several years before my parents met and their parents before that met. That is my way and I want to keep it that way.

To sum up my little survey, marriage simply equals to a lot of expectations, that many a times are not met and hence the frustrated lot you find talking to themselves in the streets.  Get married if you may, and as the great Nietzsche said, if you get a good wife you will be happy if a bad one you will become a philosopher.  Live and enjoy life and look pleased like a cat with two tails (hopefully)!!

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