Cross Cultural Change Essay

1233 words - 5 pages

Cross Cultural Change

Over the course of socio-cultural development, certain modifiers change drastically while others remain the same. One certain circumstantial solidifier in the karma of the cultural human is the need factor--the desire to belong to a greater whole. It is no more apparent than in the images and objects that a society produces.

There are two factors that are circumstantially invariable in there course of actions, one being societal change and the other personal dimensions that remain static. The latter is largely influenced by one's physical biological chemistry. Of interest is a notable psychological experiment conducted where a group of New Guinea culturally isolated and barely literate tribesmen were told to react to certain situations, i.e., your friend has come and you are happy, your child has died, etc. College students tried and successfully deciphered the emotions portrayed, affirming the hypothesis that such affects are universal (Gleitman 403). It is also generally accepted that on a biological level, humans react similarly in brain chemistry, and however different through the mediated experiences and hereditary severity of function of the individual, the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems, functions of neurotransmitters, and brain structures can be shown to remain the same across all human ties.

Outward reactions however, can be stretched beyond the internal affectual dimension. Kasson suggests in Rudeness and Civility that during the time of the industrial revolution of the 19th century, people slowly began to mediate their experiences to please a larger whole. As William James stated, "Refuse to express a passion, and it dies" (Kasson, 154). The influence of control of ones emotions gave rise to manners and many other social conventions that hold true today.

Social interaction did not always play to the theme of cognitive control, rather there was a large shift. Manners books of the 15th and 16th centuries suggest not to "blow your nose with the same hand that you use to hold the meat, spit on the table," etc. (Kasson 9). By the Victorian era, it was observed that behavior should be at all costs controlled. "A lady or gentleman should conduct herself or himself on the street so as to escape all observation" (Kasson 123). In the same respect as this modern counterpart, Egyptian civilization past some 4 thousand years was different from cave culture of 30 thousand years which was different from Roman culture some 2 thousand years ago. Bands of Paleolithic people dug their dead in the earth and placed them in foetal positions, hordes of slaves constructed huge tombs for the dead and prayed to the afterlife in Ancient Egyptian times, and metropoli of people buried their dead in huge necropoli in Roman times. The ritual concept is somewhat similar, but the form of execution varies dramatically. One millennium your praying that a hippo doesn't trample you and your family, and the...

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