Are You The Culture You Live In?
Have you ever thought of how much or how little you are the culture you live in? If you are born in a culture and you have lived there and been totally integrated in that culture, then you are that culture in many ways. But on the other hand, perhaps you have always disliked that culture and worked against it, then you are not that culture, because you must dream of another one, otherwise you would not fight against it.
Are cultures mental parasites that emerge accidently, depending on where you grow up, and thereafter take advantage of all people infected by them?
This approach is sometimes called memetics. It assumes that, just as organic evolution is based on the replication of genes, so cultural evolution is based on the replication of cultural information units called “memes“. Successful cultures are those that excel in reproducing their memes, irrespective of the costs and benefits to their human hosts.
Postmodernists thinkers speak about discourses rather than memes as the building blocks of culture. E.g. Postmodernists thinkers describe nationalism as a deadly plague that spread throughout the world in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, causing wars, oppression, hate and genocide. Many people got infected by this “virus” weather they liked it or not. People can be infected by these cultural viruses if we not have history and strong sanity to guide us in our cultural existence.
Arms racing is a pattern of behavior that spreads itself like a virus from one country to another, harming everyone, but benefiting itself and the people behind, under the evolutionary criteria of survival and reproduction.
There is no basis for thinking
that the most succesful cultures in history
are necessarily the best ones for Homo sapiens.
Like evolution, history disregards the happiness of individual organisms. And individual humans are usually for too ignorant and weak to influence the course of history to their own advantage.
Do you love your culture? Is it beneficial for the humans living in it? Can you change it, if you would?
Thank you Yuval Noah Harari for your very inspiring book Sapiens.
Love, Health And Wisdom