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Culture: The Big Excuse for Everything

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Cultural variations have always been a very convenient justification for every type of human behavior. The argument thus far is that a definition of culture, based on history, heritage and religion is still the norm, and it should not be so.

This is trying to race a Ferrari or a Lamborghini with the wheels of a medieval chariot

Evolution at the speed of Whoosh

Modern lifestyles with unlimited choices for those who can afford them, technology, internet (Google and such other things), globalization, information glut, communication overload, English language, the tentacles of the global economic order, etc have changed us fundamentally as human beings. We are as fundamentally different from our parents as our children are from us. This is not generational in-communication; this is generational rupture.

This means that we are now ready for yet another redefinition of human beings. Broadly speaking, this new technological being is a very common sub-species. This technobot’s lifestyle and thinking is very similar, not necessarily with one who lives on his street or town, but, possibly on the other side of the globe. For, thanks to internet, distances have become irrelevant.

A New Kind of Universalism

Amazingly, this is as close as we have got in human history to the idea of universalism and humanism at the level of the individual—an idea very controversial—considering that there is still so much cultural variation. Increasing, what is similar in people is getting to be a lot more significant than what is dissimilar. Also, it the similarities take up a lot more a person’s daily time.

And finally, with space explorers on the verge of announcing bio-materials on so-and-so planet, our provincial quibbles on this tiny planet seem very trivial.

A Thought Experiment to Test Universalism

Let us try out a thought experiment. Let us describe a teenager, boy or girl: studies in the 10th grade, wears jeans, owns a phone and computer, eats pizza and Chinese food, watches YouTube, very likely in English (and definitely one more language as well), studies from Wikipedia, streams music and Hollywood movies, dances to the 15-minutes musical sensation of the hour—whether it is a Korean or Canadian star, likes to see movies within a week of release, is connected on social media and very unconnected in social situations, especially if they are family gatherings.

Now where does this teenager live: Argentina? Australia? Brazil? Bhutan? Canada? Cambodia? Denmark? Egypt? Fiji…Turkey? USA? Venezuela?… Zimbabwe?

If we think about it, this teenager could be almost anywhere in the world.

The Differentiators

There are still some significant differentiators: culture and language of the teenager’s birthplace, but, unsurprisingly, even more, the economic status. The fact is that given that the economic status is same, trans-national and trans-cultural differences are getting less and less significant. The globe is becoming global! And our specific cultural practices are becoming more and more mechanical and cursory, something to be got out of the way before we live our vicariously intense online life.


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