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Why is Culture Important?

March 24, 2012

The behavioral patterns of people, their belief systems, their principles of life and their living are derivatives of culture. Why is culture important? Read on to find the answer.

Culture is that invisible bond, which ties the people of a community together. It refers to the pattern of human activity. The art, literature, language and religion of a community represent the community’s culture.

Culture manifests itself through the lifestyle of the individuals of a community. The moral values of the people of a community also represent their culture. The importance of culture lies in its close association with the living of the people. The different cultures of the world have brought in diversity in the ways of life of the people inhabiting different parts of the world.

Culture is related to the development of one’s attitude. One’s culture plays an important role in shaping the principles of the individual’s life. The cultural values of an individual have a deep impact on his/her attitude towards life.

According to the behaviorist definition of culture, it is the ultimate system of social control where people monitor their own standards and behavior. A community’s culture lays the foundation of the living of its people. The cultural values serve as the founding principles of one’s life. They shape an individual’s thinking and influence his/her mindset.

Why is culture important? It is definitely because it gives an individual a unique identity. The culture of a community gives its people a character of their own. Culture shapes the personality of a community. The language that a community speaks, the art forms it hosts, its staple food, its customs, traditions and festivities comprise the community’s culture. The importance of culture cannot be stressed enough as it is an integral part of living

Culture refers to the pattern of human activity and the symbols that give significance to these activities. Culture manifests itself in terms of the art, literature, costumes, customs, language, religion and religious rituals. The people and their pattern of life make up the culture of a region. Cultures vary in the different parts of the world. They are different across the land boundaries and the diversity in cultures results in the diversity in people around the world. Culture also consists of the system of beliefs held by the people of the region, their principles of life and their moral values. The patterns of behavior of the people of a particular region also form a part of the region’s culture. The word ‘culture’ that hails from the Latin word, ‘cultura’ derived from ‘colere’, means, ‘to cultivate’. Hence the way in which the minds of the masses inhabiting a particular region are cultivated, in someway determines the culture of a region. Let us look at the basic characteristics of culture and its fundamental elements.

Characteristics of Culture

Culture is shared, by which we mean that every culture is shared by a group of people. Depending on the region they live in, the climatic conditions they thrive in and their historical heritage, they form a set of values and beliefs. This set of their principles of life shapes their culture. No culture belongs to an individual. It is rather shared among many people of a certain part of the world. It belongs to a single community and not to any single human being.

Culture is learned. The members of a culture share certain ideals, which shape their lives. Generations learn to follow these ideals and principles. Culture propagates through generations, which adopt their old customs and traditions as a part of their culture. The ideals they base their lives on is a part of their culture. Cultural values are imparted from one generation to another, thus resulting in a continual of traditions that are a part of culture. The language, the literature and the art forms pass across generations. Culture is learned, understood and adopted by the younger generations of society. No individual is born with a sense of his/her culture. He/she has to learn it.

What are the elements of culture? The language, other forms of expression as also the thoughts and emotions of the people, their social and cultural norms, their principles and beliefs are the basic elements of culture. For an effective transfer of culture from one generation to another, it has to be translated in terms of symbols, which represent the cultural values of a community. Language, art and religion form the system of symbols that render a deep meaning to culture.

Despite the efforts of the older generations to transfer their cultural values to the forthcoming generations, many tend to remain unaware of their culture. People are often found to have an incomplete knowledge of their culture. People seldom know their culture completely.

A gradual change is characteristic to almost every culture. Cultures are subject to change. Culture loses some of its traits and gains new ones. The aspects of culture that change vary across societies. With the passage of time, new technologies emerge, new modes of work come up, social thinking undergoes transitions and so does culture. Every culture changes in time although the rate of change of every culture varies.

Studies have brought out a fact that no culture can remain in isolation. There is hardly any social community that is completely isolated from the rest of the world. Every culture hence, is mostly influenced by cultures of the surrounding regions. Cultural values are prone to be affected by the values of communities in close vicinity. The cultures, which emerged during the same periods of time often, show certain similarities. Modern times have witnessed an intermix of cultures. Cultures are blended together giving rise to shared cultures.

I feel that it is our moral responsibility to understand our culture. There is a need to study our cultural values and ideals, which have been shaping our society. It is necessary to have respect and pride for our culture. There is a need to peep into the past that has shaped our present.

Manali Oak Says
“After spending some time in the software industry, I realized that developing content interests me more than developing code. The software engineer in me has taken a backseat these days. She peeps in once in a while though, to understand reader requirements, develop content and encode expressions into words. Writing is like programming in languages that have words, and not functions and operators, as these languages are human, not machine. My love for words has brought me to writing. In pursuit of making every written work, a piece of art.”
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Categories: Culture
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