Why Is Culture An Adaptive Mechanism?

1877 words - 8 pages

1. Why is culture an adaptive mechanism?
Culture is considered an adaptive mechanism because it provides behavior patterns, strategies, and techniques aimed at helping people adapt in a particular environment. The goal of each living thing is survival. While plants and animals adapt to their environment genetically, for humans the most important adaptive mechanism is culture. In Madagascar, for example, trees have adjusted to the drier climate by losing extra leaves during the dry winter to limit evaporation. Humans, on the other hand, cannot adapt their bodies to very cold or very hot climates, and need cultural knowledge and technology in order to survive in the place their ...view middle of the document...

” Human knowledge, beliefs, and learning behaviors are handed down from one generation to another, through language and modeling others, to ensure the survival of our species. Humans, in fact, cannot survive without culture. Even if we are genetically predisposed to learn, infants are born without human knowledge, beliefs and cultural behaviors. Since culture is not genetically transmitted human beings need to teach and share their culture in order to preserve it and use it. Culture is learned because is a behavior that cannot be transmitted genetically. Animal behavior, on the other hand, is influenced by genetic mechanisms (instincts). Ants for example are born genetically programmed to do their tasks, as defenders, foragers, and workers .Their roles, which never change, assure the survival of the whole colony. Instead, human culture is not passed on genetically from parents to offspring but it is socially transmitted.
3. Why does culture have the ability to change?
Culture has the ability to change because is a dynamic range of human patterns. Culture is never static. When humans patterns change culture changes with them. Inventions and technological developments, change of the environment (climate changes), the development of new ideas, and cultural diffusion (cross-cultural contacts) are also causes of cultural changes. Take as an example the invention of the disposable coffee cup, which reinvented the way we consume coffee. Coffee originally was drank in porcelain or ceramic cups and people had to sit in the coffee shop to consume their beverage. The first coffee “to go” in a disposable plastic/paper cup changed the coffee culture forever. “…as taking the coffee to go could be ruled out as a time-saver, considering the multitude of choices when ordering, not to mention the long lines. Instead the to go cup itself became a symbol of the time-efficient citizen.” Ann Lundh says in the article “Coffee to go” , and then continues “In the era of wireless network cafes, where we sometimes actually might be sitting down to drink the coffee next to our computers, we still take the coffee in to go cups.” Humans are always changing their patterns and even though cultures may be radically different from one another all cultures seem to be having a common connection: all cultures evolve and change.
4. According to the article, People are not usually aware of their culture. Do you think you were aware of your culture before reading this article?
I was not aware of my own culture until I moved, fifteen years ago, from Italy to the U.S. I grew up in a small Italian rural town, (called Treviso) in a very tight- knit community. All my friends, and acquaintances, were born and raised by traditional Italian families. The local dialect was the preferred and most common means of communication. In schools, teachers were hired accordingly to their place of birth. Teachers born and raised in Treviso were preferred to teachers born...

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