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Cultural Diversity and the supposed Civilizational Communication

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Cultural Diversity and the supposed Civilizational Communication

Post by OULGOUT Abdelouahed on Fri Jun 12, 2009 9:44 am

Cultural diversity has fueled a hot controversy more than ever before. The world has become such a small castle because of several rampant scientific revolutions diffusing all over the world and making communication so complex, fuzzy, and multi-dimensional.

In regard to this breathtaking state of human life, it appears that human existence is in need of many metaphysical conditions like safety, happiness, tolerane, and understanding; otherwise, Man will have to pay a costly price due to the huge gap between nations in all parts of the universe: Different religious beliefs, intensive disagreement between political allies, social troubles with a higher proportion of starvation, thirst, health disorders, misery, economic depressions bringing about more social problems…etc. All these headaches lead us feel more nervous, tense, and unable to cope with our societal roles and daily duties.

Apart from this figure that gives “culture” a horrible portrait, several intellectuals view that cultural diversity might be a symbol of “unity”. Yet, how could this come true? How can one bridge clashing cultures together? Is it possible to put up with the other? How can we keep up our native culture while coexisting with foreigners? Isn’t there any threat to our identities on the account of other world identities? Is it conceivable to talk about a culture afar from others? All these questions, as one shall argue, follow from the cloudy conception of “culture”, notably its characteristics and functions. So, what is culture used to mean? What does it consist of? And what is it for?

Culture is a combination of material and non-material elements shared among a particular society or group of people. It is learned and transmitted, formally or informally, from a generation to another via language, school, family, institutions, educational centers, festivals, celebrations…etc. The presence of culture in the individual results in what we call cultural identity. Among the material elements of culture are clothes, food, artifacts, fossils, books, musical instruments, houses…etc. Yet, the elements such as values, beliefs, thought, ideology, conception…constitute the abstract side of culture.

People often draw on culture either to enhance communication or to impose power. Culture can therefore function as a means of communication; it consists of uncountable communicative mechanisms that enable people to effectively, easily, and effortlessly exchange messages. For instance, a Christian can let others know his religious or cultural identity by just putting on a cross around his neck. An other would express her agreement or disagreement by just moving her head up and down or on both sides. Such conversational devices provide people with effort-and-time-saving communication facilities. A combination between both forms of communication can also give much emphasis and beauty to the messages we convey.

Culture does not only enhance communication, but it imposes power as well. For example, Marxism, Liberalism, Sufism, Darwinism, relativity, and many other ideologies or scientific theories impose a particular kind of power on the receiver: it is simply the power of knowledge. At the world economic level, culture surrounds societies with a powerful financial system. Many parts of the world have been compelled to follow the US globalization and system of economy. Others have been forced to adopt its educational system and way of life, falling into what many intellectuals call Americanisation or Westernization.

Thus, culture remains a complex system of which the individual and society are a part. It differs from an individual to another, from a community to an other community, and from a nation to another. Yet, there exist many similarities and points of intersection that link between all the members of the human community, who have a real possibility to overlook their areas of disagreement and rather draw on their shared human essence to further consolidate the ties of mutual understanding, learning, respect, justice and tolerance among each other.

OULGOUT Abdelouahed
A.OULGOUT

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