Latest quotes | Random quotes | Vote! | Latest comments | Add quote

As human beings we do change, grow, adapt, perhaps even learn and become wiser.

quote by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Related quotes

Natural Powers Of Human Beings

Every human being living on planet earth possess some basic powers
The basic powers include powers to think, select, reason, decide,
Invent, produce, feel, create, construct, write and make choices
All the above powers have their positive and negative manifestations

Those human beings who are spiritually undeveloped exhibit
Some negative powers such as hatred and disgust, jealousy and envy
Hypocrisy and duplicity, selfishness and egotism, as well as insincerity

The spiritually developed human beings display positive powers like
Compassion and kindness, love and affection, charity and philanthropy
Reverence for life, altruism and self-sacrifice, optimism and buoyancy

Some human beings demonstrate extraordinary powers of intuition
Metaphysicians classify the powers of intuition as part of the sixth sense
The power of intuition is the ability to know without thinking
Answers and solutions come naturally to those who have these powers

Few human beings exhibit the astonishing powers of premonition
The power of premonition is the power of forewarning
This is the power to know that something has happened without been told
It is the power to know an event is about to occur before it actually does
Mystics categorize the powers of premonition as part of the sixth sense
As it is popularly said – to be forewarned is to be forearmed
Premonition is one of special powers human beings can possess

A number of individuals display the amazing powers of telepathy
Telepathy is the science of mind-to-mind communication
It is also the power to know what your neighbors are thinking about
Some folks refer to telepathy as a branch of clairvoyance
Few people say telepathy is part of E.S.P – extrasensory perception
Whatever may be your own definition of telepathy
It is an incredible power any human being can possess

All the above mentioned powers are not magical powers
The powers are available to all human beings to access
Please enjoy your life, good luck and happy destiny

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Whether Conscious or Not

As long as others,
Were subjects of their poked jokes...
These agitating folks were satisfied to live,
Unapologetically.
Free of guilt!
And accountability!

Nor did they think deeply,
About the affects of wearing sheets with peepholes.
And whose state of mind these acts would upset.
They were mobs much like a cancerous glob.
Yearning to hang or burn...
Human beings they deemed,
From them had lessons to learn!

And today this same mindset,
Has not through time been addressed.
That same ignorance defends insecurities.
With absurdities blatant.
And masked to distract...
An attraction for mentioned bigotries!

Although their states are 'mapped'...
And appear united.
These folks are divided by their racist remarks!

Most of them say,
This is not their way today!
But a debating of their policies believed.
Those implemented,
And meant to stay!

But those of color know,
Too well their lives of limitation.
And who amongst them sit imprisoned.
By laws that intend,
To keep them suppressed.
With wings to obtain in an 'afterlife'...
So in 'this' life,
An obedience from them is expected!

And then there are those skilled to speak,
From both sides of their mouths.
And 'this' from their institutions,
They are more than glad to teach!
Even from pulpits...
Their philosophies are outreached.

While delivering observations,
Uncommitted from atop high fences.
They are convinced verses spewed...
Are remembered sacred scriptures,
That should depict them as chosen victors!

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

A Marriage And Life Of Human Beings!

Till the marriage time they don't know;
Marriage strengthens their alliance in life;
Before that they have not even seen once!
This is life made for each other till the end;
What a life between two hearts in the world!
Many marriage functions we attend in lifetime;
They look to be a normal and usual thing;
But till the marriage alliance is fixed for sure
Nothing seems to be sure and keep on trying!
This is the same case with many parents here
And nothing can be visualised before that time!
Likewise marriages are fixed and conducted
For years together and families grow to big size
In the life of human beings as far as I have seen!

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

The Face-mask of Human Beings!

Most human beings wear a mask
To hide their real face in life;
To some this is an easy task;
In modern world, such masks are rife!

Some hide the beast alive within;
Some hide their meek and soft nature;
Some hide their blunders, follies, sin;
Some hide their grief, sorrow, rapture!

Yet, why do people do such things?
– The world is not so trust-worthy;
Our earthly life, more failures brings;
We aim to live a life, ‘mirthy’!

The face reflects one’s expressions;
The eyes are mirrors of the mind;
The mask covers one’s depressions;
No one discerns the truths behind!

The ones who wear a mask for face
Are successful most times on earth;
They’ve changed the contours of the race;
Their complexion seems false from birth!

‘Why should the world know what I feel?
Why should I show my emotions?
To most, the mask is worth the deal;
And works quite well like fine potions! ’

A few really abhor masks;
They live a life on earth, real;
They’re natural in all their tasks;
Their palate loves a genuine meal!

A few may try to read your mind –
But this is not an easy task;
Let face change with what life may bring;
But never wear in life, face-mask!

Our earthly lives has ‘ups and downs’;
In joyful times, we laugh or smile;
When anger fills, we show some frowns;
This is God-destined natural style!

Remove the mask upon your face,
And meet the world with pleasant gaze;
Let face be bright and not a haze;
Thus walk or run in your own pace!

Align with Mother Nature’s codes,
And dance in life to Her love-tunes;
The Maker guides you in life’s roads;
There’s music o’er desert sand-dunes!

Copyright by Dr John Celes 7-12-2008

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Human Beings Are Nothing But Memories

3020. the year
when robots pay homage
to human beings
who created them
in their own likeness

at most humans could
just be idols
to the least they have
been reduced
to nothing but biblical
names and
notes of robotic
histories

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Human Beings

We are human beings.
We are imperfect beings.

We need to aspire
to be
all that we can be.


Yet so often
partners, friends,
colleagues,

chance people
we may meet
upon a myriad
of random streets.

Will may strive
to bring us down
to a mundane
common baser level.


It is a terrible thing.
When the bell of virtue.
People will not let us ring.


poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Lotuses, Artichokes, Bees and Human beings

The Bumblebee noticed
Her young son in a gloomy mood
On a Summer
And she questioned;
' Why you look so sad? '
'Mom! I promised that beautiful Artichoke
One day I marry her also I have an affair with a lotus!
'Oh! We have already arranged your cousin sister
And she's very fond of you
You'll be an Outcast being adamant
And your Papa would be angry,
Lotuses and Artichokes belong to selfish human beings
And definitely they burn our peaceful Beehive! '

* Humbly to a friend who calls me a Fool!

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

If Billions Of Human Beings

IF BILLION OF HUMAN BEINGS

“If billions of human beings
Have passed from the earth
Without our even knowing their names-
If so many species
Were here
And are now gone -
If Empires and Civilizations erased-
If so so much has been lost
So much greater than myself -
Why can’t I accept
That the manuscripts of a single individual
may disappear as if they never were-

I did what I did
When I did it-
And what remains of it
Is not for me to judge.”

So the cowardly voice of irresponsibility
Escapes the duty of correcting and editing and ordering
And trying to save the work I have given my life to.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Human Beings

Human being beings are strange in being human,

Strange in love and art and vice,

Strange in being nice

Human beings are strangers in the night

Lights shining on a starry night

No sooner blinked out they are gone

A stranger in the human race

Keeping up keeping face,

Moving on

In crowds and queues and buses

Walking alone at ten

Human beings in being human

Make the strangest men

Not easy to be read,

Or clothed or fed

Or put to bed

Each thought entwined

Lives over signed overlapped

Smaller beings kept but not as 'pets'

Sometimes feel 'trapped'

For human beings are best when left at sea

Frantic firey disordered unchained set free


Their limpet souls make rocks their strange security

For love for life for space,


Human beings are strangest in 'The Human Race'

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Human Connections

Imagine;

Every human being has shared every breath of air ever taken by fellow humans, and animal life since the beginning of life on Earth.
Likewise every drink of water consumed has also been shared.

Mother Nature knows not to waste…only to recycle.
Matter cannot be destroyed…only changed.

Does this not prove an inextricable connection of all matter in the Universe?

So what is there to fight about or over?
To make war on matter in any form is to make war on self.

Alas, the most neglected emotion that connects human beings is love.
Restoring love of self, each other and the environment is the key to peace.
Love births a host of other positive emotions and actions such as compassion,
Empathy, forgiveness, harmony and well being.

Know that evil, greed and exploitation wither and die when not fed fear, guilt and other negativity.

Positive change happens when chaos and turmoil are tamed by man making better choices.

As a human being with free will practice making choices that empower your fellows and all shall experience “Heaven on Earth”, as was meant to be by “The Spirit That Moves in All Things”.


ROTMS

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Human Beings

It is only love I feel
That will give us peace of heart
In my hour of desperate need
I feel closer to the one
Oh but why...
Please
Human being
If you bleed
they will say it was destined
They'll be punchin' tickets
By the minute if you fall out of line
desperate
desperate
Tell me is it death you feel
That will bring you peace of life.
Who wants
Tell me you're one of us
Tell me you're one
Tell me you're one of us
Tell me you're one
When you lose your self esteem
That's when love dies...
Ohhh...
Please human being
If you bleed
They will say that it's destined
They'll be punchin' tickets
By the minute if you fall out of line
We're mere human beings we die
So...
So...destined desperate
Well I feel
When you've reached number one
You look like you're puffing but
Really only blocking the sun...
Blocking the sun
Blocking the sun
We're mere human beings
We die
It's destined
They'll be punchin' tickets
By the minute you fall out of life
We're mere human beings we die
We're mere human beings we die
Desperate
It's destined
We're mere human beings we die
desperate
it's destined
destined
We're mere human beings we die

song performed by Seal from Human BeingsReport problemRelated quotes
Added by Lucian Velea
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Human Beings Are Deranged

What would our reaction be,
If an Alien race came here,
Would we bid them welcome,
Assure them there's nothing to fear.

Or would we be our usual selves,
By showing them we can fight,
To prove to them we are the best,
Convince them we're always right.

Or would we come together,
Like we've never done before,
Welcome them on peaceful terms,
Show them violence we abhor.

Could we show our Human side,
To let our visitors see,
We can live in world peace,
If only we could all agree.

If they were superior,
Beyond our wildest dreams,
Would we try to learn from them,
Or split in to regimes.

One group would say, we'll con them,
let's steal everything we can,
We'll then destroy the lot of them,
A reaction typical of man.

The others would say, let's work with them,
They can teach us all that's new,
We could defeat disease and hunger,
They could show us what to do.

Think of the opportunities,
The information we could gather,
Yet we know they would divide us,
We'd soon be in a lather.

What would they think of our ideals,
As millions of Humans starve,
While the others live in luxury,
As their side of beef they carve.

Would they think we're civilized,
As we watch our neighbours die,
For want of bread and water,
I'm sure they'd ask us why.

They'd ask why we value money,
More than life on Earth,
Letting gold and oil rule our lives,
Of intelligence there is a dearth.

Now we take away our food,
To make our transport greener,
Choosing fuel over eating isn't good,
The starving will just get leaner.

They would watch us spending trillions,
On arms to fight a war,
As we kill each other every day,
They'd surely ask, what for.

Our weapons of mass destruction,
The Aliens would surely know,
If we ever tried to use them,
Everything would go.

Cease traveling to other planets,
They'd tell us here and now,
You will not destroy our universe,
That we will never allow.

All they'd see is injustice,
Between the different races,
They'd wonder why we judge ourselves,
By the color of our faces.

They wouldn't understand our need,
For a multitude of Gods,
They would ask which one is genuine,
Do we know which ones are frauds.

They'd want to know why Human Beings,
Cannot live as one,
If we shared our world responsibly,
Then much more could be done.

The Aliens would ask why Humans,
Are hellbent on self destruction,
If we truly are supreme on Earth,
Why do we cause such disruption.

If they made an evaluation,
Their decision would surely be,
Your time is up, you've ruined your chance,
Even Humans must now see.

Every living thing on Earth,
Your species are slowly killing,
Despite the fact most have no say,
It's their blood you are spilling.

Despite all this you refuse to see,
The damage that you cause,
Do you know that soon the Earth will flood,
As the ice around you thaws.

Their views when leaving planet Earth,
Will certainly have changed,
Their thoughts on us would surely be,

''Human Beings Are Deranged''

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Each Thing Of Life In Nature

Each thing of life in Nature has a duty to fulfil
In Spring the skylark leaves the ground and soars above the hill
'Tis hardly for the love of song that upwards he does fly
And carols his way upwards towards the gray clouds of the sky.

The red earth worm who lives in the ground sheltered from the sun, rain and storm
Though to us quite insignificant has a duty to perform
It aerates the surface soil which helps crops for to grow
To Nature's little earth worm respect we ought to show.

Each life form serves some purpose in Nature of which we are aware
The mouse the rat the lizard and the rabbit and the hare
Are preyed upon by predators the small by the bigger eat
For every herbivore born there's one born to eat meat.

In Nature every life form serves some purpose that's how it does seem to me
But with what i say I know too well that not all would agree
In Nature each life form serves some purpose from the great to the small
And that applies to human beings as well as things that swim, fly walk and crawl.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Unlock The Portal

The mind, a portal through which inner
being perceives, programmed by per-
sonal experience, teaching and
brainwashing techniques -

Modern human beings enjoy a market-
place of ideas, absorb principles and
ideals, pragmatists decree truth to be
useful application

Brains react to chemicals with sensation,
pain or elation - spiritual guru's recom-
mend using feelings as mental meters
of our level of creation

Instinctual pleasure is termed good while
pain is bad, disrespect causes pain while
creativity delights, if all needs could
be met without losing self-esteem

A new world would come into being without
victims and victimisers as these roles would
disappear - my mind portal is contaminated
by chemicals; my thoughts cannot lift off

From physical, wish I could wave a wand and
feel different - capable, energetic, affectionate
and loving - but my brain only registers a
feeling of apprehension

Imprisoned within a programmed view of reality
which leaves no room for me, trying to disappear
not working; you look at me with an
expression of exasperation

Please let me change, please, please give me a
different perspective, give me a warm loving heart
in place of the cold stone created by allergy,
please unlock the portal which leads to

Freedom And Love...

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Exploitation

World will cease to exist and face extinction,
Not to differentiate and make the distinction,
It all hinges on the word exploitation,
Simple logic and need no explanation.

Big fish kills small fish,
Small fished are served in dish,
Human beings want it as wish,
Thus is the end and matter finish,

If potters creation remains intact,
No place will be left on earth in fact,
If all babies survive and not die,
People will have to come in open and lie,

Crowd all over and no space will be left,
Bread will be snatched and increase in theft,
Nothing will be secured and disorder prevail,
No more opportunities and chances avail,

Why rich should bother the poor?
Why do we expect open door?
If we believe in HIM then it is fate,
Opinion to be formed before it is late,

We strongly believe and expect,
World to change and order arrange,
Let every one live happily and manage,
Why then bloodshed and ghastly carnage?

It is cycle that works and move,
No one can stop and no one can remove,
We got to accept the universal law,
It is His creation and has no flaw,

Why one takes birth as king?
Lavish marriage and diamond ring,
Pomp and show with beautiful life,
Luxury at feet and situation rife,

One toils hard but finds no bread,
Life is sustained only on thread,
Death is casual and no one read,
Where survival is question then how to lead?

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Bible Stories: Job (Chapter XXXIX)

Do you know how the young are born
Of mountain-goats ‘midst desert-thorn?
The months it takes to deliver,
And grow, when they leave forever?

Who gives the wild asses freedom
And frees them from the town’s boredom?
The wilderness is dwelling place;
No one shouts at their lazy pace.

They head for mountain-pastures green,
Where human beings have not been;
Will wild oxen remain docile
And pass the nights in town’s exile?

Can ropes bind them in the furrow?
Will they in valleys, too harrow?
Can you trust strength of theirs that’s great?
Leave your labor’s fruits at their feet?

Will they thresh grain all by themselves?
Or stack the yield neatly in shelves?
The wings of Ostrich beat idly;
She leaves her eggs on ground freely!

If feet crush them, she does not care;
But in the sands, she leaves them bare;
Disowning young, so ruthlessly,
She leaves her brood so cruelly!

Withheld has God from her wisdom;
Yet, given swiftness and freedom;
Who gives the horse its strength to run,
And neck with splendor next to none?

Who can make the steed to quiver
While loud snorting spreads great terror?
With joy, he gallops on the plain,
And darts forward when foes are slain.

Despite the quivers and the spears,
He heads with frenzy when he hears
The trumpet-noise and battle-cry,
As many clash, to fight and die.

Who tells the hawk to soar up high
And spread its wings, to south to fly?
Do eagles build their nests aloft,
When you command them in words soft?

He spends the nights on cliffs, ledges;
It eyes its prey in far hedges;
Its young ones drink blood without fear,
Where slain remain, eagles are near!

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

The Carnal Mind

Misunderstanding, sing, ring, guns, arise, dine, dean, sane, made, dues, ant;
And like the carnal mind!
But true love, care and concern for all is what we need as human beings.

Misunderstanding, rag, dig, rand, rend, sender, issue, aids, aide, aid, sit, sun;
And like the muse of love as compared to the muse of hatred! !
But the carnal mind had taken over and, minkind is now faced with wars!
However, true love, care and concern for all is what we need.

Misunderstanding, saint, stain, nun, mare, tear, near, seas, sea, sears, sear, gun, sages;
With hatred everywhere today to overcome the fruits of love!
But we the human beings need to change for the better! !
Because the wars are killing us all,
And we need a better home with love than hatred.

Misunderstanding, ears, ear, era, are, dare, dear, read, tan, run, ran, age, ages, sine;
Why should we throw bombs against each other? ! !
When this earth was meant for you and i;
For, it is better to live peacefully than with hatred that leads to war!
And, you and i know the truth onthis earth.

Misunderstanding, rats, tar, tars, is, sin, gin, den, miss, at, as, Miss, sad, mad, sage, sat;
And like the very acts of the carnal mind! !
But, is there any hope for us? !
Then we better think twice before killing someone because of hatred;
For his earth is the only one that we have.

Misunderstanding, under, understand, stand, standing, end, and, star, rat, satrs, rise;
Mind your language and watch your lips!
For we need to understand each other in a very peaceful way;
And like the sweet muse of love,
For e carnal mind is all that we need to control! !

Misunderstanding, dam, side, ride, am, in, Inn, seat, seats, sand, set, sets, sits, due;
And like the rainbow colours teachings us how to mix up with each other,
For the carnal mind had taken us to the other side!
And, war had been to us like the way we do spell out our names! !

Misunderstanding, use, uses, mind, mean, mine, man, men, sue, sues, mend, range, me;
And like the carnal mind in conflict with each other!
But, it is time we know the difference betwen right and wrong;
For, peace is better than war!

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

0218 Paradise Known

O God - or may I call you Lord? –
I remember when I was a child,
You were my best friend, one who knew me
better than I knew myself;
and so I talked to You all the time,
especially when I’d been naughty;
then later on, it was taught me
that I’m made in Your image – that feels good…

I know, just as all children do,
what Paradise is, and where:
when the sun is out,
it’s in that wood beyond the field,
where I feel most myself;
but not quite out of sight of home;
and lots of other places just like that;
then when the sun goes in, I go in too,
and Paradise is - when I’m tired and fed,
and then all nice and read to, tucked up in bed;
and Paradise is in my head.

And then, I read in Genesis
how, out of Your immortal bliss,
the way You did it all;
and so, since we’re good friends
and I’m made in Your image,
I have some questions: You did a brilliant job
with fields and woods and animals
and human beings – well, some of them, the ones I like…
and it makes good sense
to have Adam there to look after it all, and to enjoy it;
and a nice idea too to have Eve as his companion –
who else could do the cooking while he’s out at work,
or remind him of the jobs to do around the house?
and if Adam had to have the babies too,
he wouldn’t then be able to go out and work as well…

But why couldn’t You have left it just like that?
you must have guessed that when grown-ups say
‘You’re not to eat the apples on that tree! ’
then you want to do just that,
not for the apples but
because you want to know
just why you shouldn’t do that anyway?
I mean, it’s human, isn’t it?

And if You don’t mind my saying this,
throwing them out of Paradise,
that seems a bit severe for such a crime?
couldn’t You have let them off, first time?

My teacher says ‘it’s all symbolic’ – that the message is
just to be ourselves, and not divide the world
into the ‘good’ and ‘bad’,
or always split our mind in two
or to think we know too much–
(did you tell my teacher that?) :
and that there are some of Your laws
which we must keep, which have just cause;
well, I’ll go along with that;
I never wanted – afterwards – to be naughty, anyway;
I’ve talked toYou about this often, and explained…

I’d like to think that when Adam and Eve
realised what they’d lost, and then said sorry,
they didn’t have to go around in guilt and sin
(Like miserable old Auntie Min..)
and, if Paradise is lost by us, but yet that’s known,
we can then return to what we own?
And they all lived happily ever after’
is what the old storybooks all tell me…
or is there perhaps some hidden clue,
like, we often ‘grow up’ and forget about You? …

*

My teacher says I’ve ‘simplified’ –
but didn’t You say, ‘Be as a child’?

Well, Lord, that’s how it seems to me;
and I’m Your child; would You agree?

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

Book II - Part 02 - Atomic Motions

Now come: I will untangle for thy steps
Now by what motions the begetting bodies
Of the world-stuff beget the varied world,
And then forever resolve it when begot,
And by what force they are constrained to this,
And what the speed appointed unto them
Wherewith to travel down the vast inane:
Do thou remember to yield thee to my words.
For truly matter coheres not, crowds not tight,
Since we behold each thing to wane away,
And we observe how all flows on and off,
As 'twere, with age-old time, and from our eyes
How eld withdraws each object at the end,
Albeit the sum is seen to bide the same,
Unharmed, because these motes that leave each thing
Diminish what they part from, but endow
With increase those to which in turn they come,
Constraining these to wither in old age,
And those to flower at the prime (and yet
Biding not long among them). Thus the sum
Forever is replenished, and we live
As mortals by eternal give and take.
The nations wax, the nations wane away;
In a brief space the generations pass,
And like to runners hand the lamp of life
One unto other.
But if thou believe
That the primordial germs of things can stop,
And in their stopping give new motions birth,
Afar thou wanderest from the road of truth.
For since they wander through the void inane,
All the primordial germs of things must needs
Be borne along, either by weight their own,
Or haply by another's blow without.
For, when, in their incessancy so oft
They meet and clash, it comes to pass amain
They leap asunder, face to face: not strange-
Being most hard, and solid in their weights,
And naught opposing motion, from behind.
And that more clearly thou perceive how all
These mites of matter are darted round about,
Recall to mind how nowhere in the sum
Of All exists a bottom,- nowhere is
A realm of rest for primal bodies; since
(As amply shown and proved by reason sure)
Space has no bound nor measure, and extends
Unmetered forth in all directions round.
Since this stands certain, thus 'tis out of doubt
No rest is rendered to the primal bodies
Along the unfathomable inane; but rather,
Inveterately plied by motions mixed,
Some, at their jamming, bound aback and leave
Huge gaps between, and some from off the blow
Are hurried about with spaces small between.
And all which, brought together with slight gaps,
In more condensed union bound aback,
Linked by their own all intertangled shapes,-
These form the irrefragable roots of rocks
And the brute bulks of iron, and what else
Is of their kind...
The rest leap far asunder, far recoil,
Leaving huge gaps between: and these supply
For us thin air and splendour-lights of the sun.
And many besides wander the mighty void-
Cast back from unions of existing things,
Nowhere accepted in the universe,
And nowise linked in motions to the rest.
And of this fact (as I record it here)
An image, a type goes on before our eyes
Present each moment; for behold whenever
The sun's light and the rays, let in, pour down
Across dark halls of houses: thou wilt see
The many mites in many a manner mixed
Amid a void in the very light of the rays,
And battling on, as in eternal strife,
And in battalions contending without halt,
In meetings, partings, harried up and down.
From this thou mayest conjecture of what sort
The ceaseless tossing of primordial seeds
Amid the mightier void- at least so far
As small affair can for a vaster serve,
And by example put thee on the spoor
Of knowledge. For this reason too 'tis fit
Thou turn thy mind the more unto these bodies
Which here are witnessed tumbling in the light:
Namely, because such tumblings are a sign
That motions also of the primal stuff
Secret and viewless lurk beneath, behind.
For thou wilt mark here many a speck, impelled
By viewless blows, to change its little course,
And beaten backwards to return again,
Hither and thither in all directions round.
Lo, all their shifting movement is of old,
From the primeval atoms; for the same
Primordial seeds of things first move of self,
And then those bodies built of unions small
And nearest, as it were, unto the powers
Of the primeval atoms, are stirred up
By impulse of those atoms' unseen blows,
And these thereafter goad the next in size;
Thus motion ascends from the primevals on,
And stage by stage emerges to our sense,
Until those objects also move which we
Can mark in sunbeams, though it not appears
What blows do urge them.
Herein wonder not
How 'tis that, while the seeds of things are all
Moving forever, the sum yet seems to stand
Supremely still, except in cases where
A thing shows motion of its frame as whole.
For far beneath the ken of senses lies
The nature of those ultimates of the world;
And so, since those themselves thou canst not see,
Their motion also must they veil from men-
For mark, indeed, how things we can see, oft
Yet hide their motions, when afar from us
Along the distant landscape. Often thus,
Upon a hillside will the woolly flocks
Be cropping their goodly food and creeping about
Whither the summons of the grass, begemmed
With the fresh dew, is calling, and the lambs
Well filled, are frisking, locking horns in sport:
Yet all for us seem blurred and blent afar-
A glint of white at rest on a green hill.
Again, when mighty legions, marching round,
Fill all the quarters of the plains below,
Rousing a mimic warfare, there the sheen
Shoots up the sky, and all the fields about
Glitter with brass, and from beneath, a sound
Goes forth from feet of stalwart soldiery,
And mountain walls, smote by the shouting, send
The voices onward to the stars of heaven,
And hither and thither darts the cavalry,
And of a sudden down the midmost fields
Charges with onset stout enough to rock
The solid earth: and yet some post there is
Up the high mountains, viewed from which they seem
To stand- a gleam at rest along the plains.

Now what the speed to matter's atoms given
Thou mayest in few, my Memmius, learn from this:
When first the dawn is sprinkling with new light
The lands, and all the breed of birds abroad
Flit round the trackless forests, with liquid notes
Filling the regions along the mellow air,
We see 'tis forthwith manifest to man
How suddenly the risen sun is wont
At such an hour to overspread and clothe
The whole with its own splendour; but the sun's
Warm exhalations and this serene light
Travel not down an empty void; and thus
They are compelled more slowly to advance,
Whilst, as it were, they cleave the waves of air;
Nor one by one travel these particles
Of the warm exhalations, but are all
Entangled and enmassed, whereby at once
Each is restrained by each, and from without
Checked, till compelled more slowly to advance.
But the primordial atoms with their old
Simple solidity, when forth they travel
Along the empty void, all undelayed
By aught outside them there, and they, each one
Being one unit from nature of its parts,
Are borne to that one place on which they strive
Still to lay hold, must then, beyond a doubt,
Outstrip in speed, and be more swiftly borne
Than light of sun, and over regions rush,
Of space much vaster, in the self-same time
The sun's effulgence widens round the sky.

Nor to pursue the atoms one by one,
To see the law whereby each thing goes on.
But some men, ignorant of matter, think,
Opposing this, that not without the gods,
In such adjustment to our human ways,
Can Nature change the seasons of the years,
And bring to birth the grains and all of else
To which divine Delight, the guide of life,
Persuades mortality and leads it on,
That, through her artful blandishments of love,
It propagate the generations still,
Lest humankind should perish. When they feign
That gods have stablished all things but for man,
They seem in all ways mightily to lapse
From reason's truth: for ev'n if ne'er I knew
What seeds primordial are, yet would I dare
This to affirm, ev'n from deep judgment based
Upon the ways and conduct of the skies-
This to maintain by many a fact besides-
That in no wise the nature of the world
For us was builded by a power divine-
So great the faults it stands encumbered with:
The which, my Memmius, later on, for thee
We will clear up. Now as to what remains
Concerning motions we'll unfold our thought.
Now is the place, meseems, in these affairs
To prove for thee this too: nothing corporeal
Of its own force can e'er be upward borne,
Or upward go- nor let the bodies of flames
Deceive thee here: for they engendered are
With urge to upwards, taking thus increase,
Whereby grow upwards shining grains and trees,
Though all the weight within them downward bears.
Nor, when the fires will leap from under round
The roofs of houses, and swift flame laps up
Timber and beam, 'tis then to be supposed
They act of own accord, no force beneath
To urge them up. 'Tis thus that blood, discharged
From out our bodies, spurts its jets aloft
And spatters gore. And hast thou never marked
With what a force the water will disgorge
Timber and beam? The deeper, straight and down,
We push them in, and, many though we be,
The more we press with main and toil, the more
The water vomits up and flings them back,
That, more than half their length, they there emerge,
Rebounding. Yet we never doubt, meseems,
That all the weight within them downward bears
Through empty void. Well, in like manner, flames
Ought also to be able, when pressed out,
Through winds of air to rise aloft, even though
The weight within them strive to draw them down.
Hast thou not seen, sweeping so far and high,
The meteors, midnight flambeaus of the sky,
How after them they draw long trails of flame
Wherever Nature gives a thoroughfare?
How stars and constellations drop to earth,
Seest not? Nay, too, the sun from peak of heaven
Sheds round to every quarter its large heat,
And sows the new-ploughed intervales with light:
Thus also sun's heat downward tends to earth.
Athwart the rain thou seest the lightning fly;
Now here, now there, bursting from out the clouds,
The fires dash zig-zag- and that flaming power
Falls likewise down to earth.
In these affairs
We wish thee also well aware of this:
The atoms, as their own weight bears them down
Plumb through the void, at scarce determined times,
In scarce determined places, from their course
Decline a little- call it, so to speak,
Mere changed trend. For were it not their wont
Thuswise to swerve, down would they fall, each one,
Like drops of rain, through the unbottomed void;
And then collisions ne'er could be nor blows
Among the primal elements; and thus
Nature would never have created aught.

But, if perchance be any that believe
The heavier bodies, as more swiftly borne
Plumb down the void, are able from above
To strike the lighter, thus engendering blows
Able to cause those procreant motions, far
From highways of true reason they retire.
For whatsoever through the waters fall,
Or through thin air, must their descent,
Each after its weight- on this account, because
Both bulk of water and the subtle air
By no means can retard each thing alike,
But give more quick before the heavier weight;
But contrariwise the empty void cannot,
On any side, at any time, to aught
Oppose resistance, but will ever yield,
True to its bent of nature. Wherefore all,
With equal speed, though equal not in weight,
Must rush, borne downward through the still inane.
Thus ne'er at all have heavier from above
Been swift to strike the lighter, gendering strokes
Which cause those divers motions, by whose means
Nature transacts her work. And so I say,
The atoms must a little swerve at times-
But only the least, lest we should seem to feign
Motions oblique, and fact refute us there.
For this we see forthwith is manifest:
Whatever the weight, it can't obliquely go,
Down on its headlong journey from above,
At least so far as thou canst mark; but who
Is there can mark by sense that naught can swerve
At all aside from off its road's straight line?

Again, if ev'r all motions are co-linked,
And from the old ever arise the new
In fixed order, and primordial seeds
Produce not by their swerving some new start
Of motion to sunder the covenants of fate,
That cause succeed not cause from everlasting,
Whence this free will for creatures o'er the lands,
Whence is it wrested from the fates,- this will
Whereby we step right forward where desire
Leads each man on, whereby the same we swerve
In motions, not as at some fixed time,
Nor at some fixed line of space, but where
The mind itself has urged? For out of doubt
In these affairs 'tis each man's will itself
That gives the start, and hence throughout our limbs
Incipient motions are diffused. Again,
Dost thou not see, when, at a point of time,
The bars are opened, how the eager strength
Of horses cannot forward break as soon
As pants their mind to do? For it behooves
That all the stock of matter, through the frame,
Be roused, in order that, through every joint,
Aroused, it press and follow mind's desire;
So thus thou seest initial motion's gendered
From out the heart, aye, verily, proceeds
First from the spirit's will, whence at the last
'Tis given forth through joints and body entire.
Quite otherwise it is, when forth we move,
Impelled by a blow of another's mighty powers
And mighty urge; for then 'tis clear enough
All matter of our total body goes,
Hurried along, against our own desire-
Until the will has pulled upon the reins
And checked it back, throughout our members all;
At whose arbitrament indeed sometimes
The stock of matter's forced to change its path,
Throughout our members and throughout our joints,
And, after being forward cast, to be
Reined up, whereat it settles back again.
So seest thou not, how, though external force
Drive men before, and often make them move,
Onward against desire, and headlong snatched,
Yet is there something in these breasts of ours
Strong to combat, strong to withstand the same?-
Wherefore no less within the primal seeds
Thou must admit, besides all blows and weight,
Some other cause of motion, whence derives
This power in us inborn, of some free act.-
Since naught from nothing can become, we see.
For weight prevents all things should come to pass
Through blows, as 'twere, by some external force;
But that man's mind itself in all it does
Hath not a fixed necessity within,
Nor is not, like a conquered thing, compelled
To bear and suffer,- this state comes to man
From that slight swervement of the elements
In no fixed line of space, in no fixed time.
Nor ever was the stock of stuff more crammed,
Nor ever, again, sundered by bigger gaps:
For naught gives increase and naught takes away;
On which account, just as they move to-day,
The elemental bodies moved of old
And shall the same hereafter evermore.
And what was wont to be begot of old
Shall be begotten under selfsame terms
And grow and thrive in power, so far as given
To each by Nature's changeless, old decrees.
The sum of things there is no power can change,
For naught exists outside, to which can flee
Out of the world matter of any kind,
Nor forth from which a fresh supply can spring,
Break in upon the founded world, and change
Whole nature of things, and turn their motions about.

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share

A Map Of Culture

Culture


Contents

What is Culture?

The Importance of Culture

Culture Varies

Culture is Critical

The Sociobiology Debate

Values, Norms, and Social Control

Signs and Symbols

Language

Terms and Definitions

Approaches to the Study of Culture

Are We Prisoners of Our Culture?



What is Culture?


I prefer the definition used by Ian Robertson: 'all the shared products of society: material and nonmaterial' (Our text defines it in somewhat more ponderous terms- 'The totality of learned, socially transmitted behavior. It includes ideas, values, and customs (as well as the sailboats, comic books, and birth control devices) of groups of people' (p.32) .

Back to Contents


The Importance of Culture


The concepts, culture and society are closely related. Culture is defined as all the products of society- material and nonmaterial; Society consists of interacting people living in the same territory who share a common culture. We really can't have one without the other (unless you want to call archaeological remains and historical records 'culture') . People in society create culture; culture shapes the way people interact and understand the world around them.

Culture determines what we know- the sum of all the angles in a triangle; what a screw driver is used for; how to use a computer to find out where Peloponnesians are...

Culture also determines what we don't know- how to catch a fish by hand; how to build a dugout canoe and navigate the South Seas without chart or compass.

Culture determines what we want to be- lawyer; dairy farmer; computer programmer; doctor; shaman; pearl diver



Culture Varies


It varies with the physical setting or geography: (A good example here is music. Think of all the differences in music that are related to geography. We're a mixed society in the United States, but think of the regional origins of much of our our music: Clogging in Tennessee; Cajun music (Zydeko) in Louisiana; City music vs. Country/Western Music, etc.)

It also varies with time: Have you ever tried to read Beowulf; Shakespeare; work a slide rule; drive a buggy; understand Victorian morality and ethics? I asked my young daughter if she wanted to go to a record store. 'What's a record? ', she asked. (Her generation has been exposed only to tapes and CDs) .

Think of culture as a stream flowing down through the centuries from one generation to another. Each generation contributes something to this stream, but in each generation something is left behind, some sediment drops to the bottom and is lost to society, (Bierstedt) . Examples of things lost to society the art of stained glass window making, violin making (The greatest violins ever produced by man were made in Cremona, Northern Italy in the mid 16th century) . (Science 84 5: 2 pp 3643) .

Culture is Critical to the Survival of Human Race


Because of the nature of the animal that we are. Unlike most animals that are specially adapted to the environment in which they live, we lack special physical characteristics such as long fangs, sharp teeth, claws, fur, feathers, or scales; or even physiological behavior patterns such as hibernation, to enable us to survive in a hostile environment. But, like the higher primates, (which we are one type of) , we share a number of important characteristics:

Characteristics of all primates:

Sociable: (Primates are gregarious and like to be in groups)
Smart: (large brain/body weight ratio) Humans' brains are most complex.
Sensitive hands: (All primates have an opposing thumb) .
Sound: (Primates are extremely vocal) .
Stand: (All primates can assume an erect posture which frees the hands):

Biological characteristics possessed by humans, alone:

Sex and Mating: (Year around mating- Unlike other primates, we lack a special breeding season. This, has important implications for gender roles) .
Schooling: (The young have a long period of dependence on adults. This also has implications for gender roles) .
Symbolic Speech: (Although there are numerous examples of chimpanzees being taught to use symbols to communicate, humans alone have developed a highly complex system of symbolic speech) .
Locomotion: (Humans alone, walk erect) .

Humans possess a highly developed, complex brain, which allows us to communicate symbolically, to learn quickly, and to innovate. We lack instincts (or if they do exist they are not readily apparent) . It is our culture that enables us to survive as a species. Culture provides answers to such basic problems as finding shelter, food, and clothing. Culture provides guidance for our every day lives; social organization which keeps us from tearing each other apart.

Every generation has to learn from scratch the culture of its society or it will perish. All the basic institutions of society that we discussed earlier; the economy, education, religion, recreation, politics represent needs that society must meet. Ways of meeting these needs are handed down from one generation to the next. They represent our culture. What we lack in physical attributes and strength, we make up for in our ability to communicate and learn culture from one generation to the next.

This, in my opinion, is precisely why Sociology is so important. It's humankind's almost total reliance upon socially transmitted patterns of behavior that enable it to survive. Society and culture are the subject matter of Sociology.


The Sociobiology Debate

There is a school of thought, Sociobiology, which sees much of human behavior as being instinctual. Sociologists generally hold that culture evolved (or developed) due to the influence of values (ideas) or due to changes in the material base of society (technology fire, the wheel, the computer) . They usually argue that biology (genetic programming) has a limited role. Sociobiologists, claim that human culture and social behavior derive from a process of natural selection and genetic transmission. Our genes predispose us to certain patterns of behavior unique from other animals. Sociobiologists support their argument by citing a number of 'cultural universals' found in all societies. They say that this is evidence of the influence of genetic factors. Examples have been drawn from the work of anthropologist, George Murdock (1945) who argued that all societies demonstrated some form of the following:

athletic sports

laws

bodily adornment

medicine

cooking (meal preparation)

incest taboos

cooperative labor

music

courtship

myths

dancing

num erals

dream analysis

personal names

family feasting

property rights

folk law

sexual restrictions

funeral ceremonies

religion

food taboos

toilet training

games

tool making

gift giving

weather making

Sociobiologists argue that human behavior ultimately is derived from our biology rather than learning. According to Murdock, all societies have incest taboos. Why? One biological argument would be that in-breeding can produce genetic defects, or that it may reinforce undesirable traits (such as hemophilia or mental instability) . Incest taboos force a group to broaden its gene pool which reduces the probability of passing along 'dysfunctional' traits. One could apply this argument to the Catholic Church: By forbidding priests and nuns to marry, it forced the recruitment of individuals from outside the church to keep the gene pool fresh. (This would prevent the formation of 'religious royal families' and the decline of the faith when a feeble minded monarch emerged) .

But there are problems with this argument. Referring to incest: Why is incest defined differently from one society to another? The range of variation is tremendous! Some societies have allowed marriage between brothers and sisters. Others forbid it between relatives closer than first cousins. Still others have restrictions going out even further; requiring individuals to marry outside the tribe. If there is a genetic basis for the incest taboo, why is there so much variation? Another point is that just as 'dysfunctional traits' can be reinforced through inbreeding; so can 'desirable' characteristics. (Dog breeders and horse breeders do this very thing) .

If everything were programmed genetically, we would expect to see little variation across societies in the way people handled the affairs of their everyday lives. But there are tremendous differences in...

the sports that we play and the way we play them
the families that we form and the ways we form them
the various ways in which we court our spouses
the friends we make and the way we make them
the tools we make and how we use them
the languages we invent and the way we speak them
the food we eat and how we eat it
the religions we form and how we practice them
the laws and customs we make and how we observe them.

The key point is that this behavior is learned. Humans can change culture without changing genes. Biology sets the stage by giving us unique capabilities that distinguish us from other species; culture determines how we use those unique capabilities.


Values, Norms, and Social Control

Values are socially shared ideas about what is 'right' and 'wrong; ' 'good' and 'bad' in society. Values are general ideas- broad and abstract. They vary from one society to another and one way to study society is to examine the values held by its members. Values are important because it is from them that we derive the norms or rules that govern our everyday lives. Values help guide conduct in unfamiliar situations and may lead to the formation of specific norms. Generally speaking, we tend to hold on to our values and are unlikely to compromise them. American values have been intensively studied by numerous scholars:

American values (Robin Williams) :

achievement and success

freedom

activity and work

conformity

humanitarianism

science/technology

progress

nationalism/patriotism

material comfort

democracy

efficiency/p racticality

individualism

equality

racial/ethnic superiority

American values (Talcott Parsons) :

instrumental activism

maximization of opportunity for individuals and sub collectives

progress

pragmatic acceptance of authority

economic production

objection to pretensions of generalized superiority of status

technology and science

Individuals as well as entire societies may experience value conflict. A great example of value conflict at the individual level is provided by the 1941 movie, 'Sergeant York, ' (starring Gary Cooper) . The movie tells the story of Alvin Cullum York, regarded as one of the outstanding heroes of World War I, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for killing 20 enemy soldiers and capturing over 100 prisoners. At first, York was a conscientious objector who held deep religions convictions against killing. The value conflict in this case involved the Sixth Commandment's prohibition against killing and what he felt were his duties as a patriotic American- to answer his country's call. Cooper, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of Sgt. York, did a wonderful job showing how individuals 'freeze up' and are unable to do anything until they resolve these kinds of internal value conflicts.

One very powerful example of a value conflict at the societal level is the current debate over abortion. Values are not readily compromised and it is often impossible to find 'common ground' in these kinds of disputes. The debate over slavery and states' rights in the 1850s is an example of a value conflict that was eventually resolved through war- the bloodiest war in this nation's history. The deplorable state of affairs we are now observing in what was formerly Yugoslavia, is essentially another value conflict.


Norms are derived from a society's overall values. Values determine norms. Remember, norms are classified into several types.

Folkways (weak norms customs, etiquette; three meals a day, wearing shoes to class, tipping after a meal, taking same seat in class)
Mores (strong norms considered vital to our well-being, values, morals; cheating on spouse, child abuse and murder)
Laws (Norms established and punished by the state with punishments fixed in advance: written or encoded mores, folkways, and taboos; from traffic laws to laws against rape and murder) .
Taboos (Very strong norms whose violation is considered loathsome and disgusting)

Social Control is the means by which society ensures that its members follow approved norms. Norms are supported by sanctions- positive and negative; formal and informal; which are used to bring people into line.

Informal:
Positive (informal) sanction: give child a candy bar for behaving
Negative (informal) sanction: give a child a stern look for talking in church
Formal:
Positive (formal) sanction: combat soldier gets Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism
Negative (formal) sanction: person gets speeding ticket for doing 56 mph in a 55 mph zone

Back to Contents

Signs and Symbols

There is an important difference between signs and symbols that you should know. Symbols set man apart from animals. Animals use signs.

Signs are representational: There is a direct connection between the sign and the reality it refers to. The meaning is clear and unambiguous. Sort of like stimulus and response. There is no need to interpret meanings.

Smoke indicates that fire is present (or will soon be present)
The family dog scratches the door to the back yard- It wants to go outside. It gets its bowl- It wants food. (The bowl is directly related to food) . It lays down belly-up- It displays submission.

Symbols are interpretative:

A symbol is an object, gesture, sound, color, or design which stands for something other than itself. We humans give meaning to these things. Examples- wedding band; leather jacket; sports car; the length and color of a person's hair; (punk rockers; T.V. ministries where people are neatly dressed; flag burnings) . Symbols may have multiple meanings. Example- the cross on a church steeple; a burning cross; a red cross on the side of an ambulance. (A smile can take on many different meanings) . Symbols can change meaning over time. Example- 'V' sign was once obscene. It stood for victory in World War II. During the Vietnam War it meant peace. Symbols are capable of stirring up deep emotions. In the debate over abortion, individuals don't classify themselves as 'pro' or 'anti' abortion. Rather, they use the terms 'pro-choice', or 'pro-life'- 'choice' and 'life' are two important values in U.S. society. People often disagree over whether or not a symbol is appropriate for a given place or circumstance. Several years ago, there was much debate over whether or not McDonalds' 'golden arches, ' an internationally recognized symbol in its own right, should be displayed so prominently over the VCU Student Commons' entrances. Eventually, the arches were taken down.


Language

Most people feel that language is unique to human beings. Other species use signs with genetically fixed meanings and can learn to respond to specified stimuli- (Pavlov's dogs salivating at the ring of a bell) - but only humans can be said to have language. Language consists primarily of verbal and written symbols with rules for putting them together. (Language also consists of the nonverbal expressions which accompany speech in face-to-face interaction. Raising an eyebrow or winking an eye often relays more meaning than a hundred words. We can therefore modify our definition to include 'verbal, visual, and written symbols and their associated rules for putting them together.'

Is language really unique to humans? There are a number of very interesting studies that suggest that certain animals have a highly developed capacity for language. Click on the links, below for some serious and scholarly references on animal communication.

§ Birds

§ Chimpanzees

§ Gorillas

This next site has some interesting material on

§ Dolphins and Whales



Language is truly the 'keystone to culture' for without it, we could not pass on the collective experience of society and the lessons it teaches for survival. It is the primary way that we pass on our culture from one generation to the next. It enables us to store meanings so we don't have to relearn everything with each generation.
Language allows us to create worlds we've never seen and develop new ideas to explain the world around us. A good example is atomic theory. Before the advent of the scanning electron microscope men had predicted the existence of atoms and molecules using the symbols of language. Language also allows us to develop new ideas to apply to the future.
George Orwell realized the importance of language in his epic work,1984. Why did the rulers of Oceania develop 'Newspeak'? They wanted to restrict the creative ability of humankind so they wouldn't have the concepts of freedom, free enterprise, individuality. 'The purpose of newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the worldview and mental habits proper to devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible.' (Orwell, p.246)

The SapirWhorf Hypothesis states that language not only reproduces our ideas, but it also shapes the way we think. It orders our reality. It may prevent people from being aware of things in the environment and focuses our attention on certain things. Examples:

Sexist language shapes our thinking about women. Coaches who ridiculed male players when they weren't playing well by calling them ladies? Language that treats women as objects; 'chick, fox, babe, hot cakes, skirts, etc. will tend to make us think of women as objects, not people.
Racist language, ethnic language; Micks, Spicks, Whops, Pollocks, Degos, Ollies, etc. tend to lower our image of people.
Color: The human eye can discern thousands of different shades of color, yet in our society we identify only 6 to 8 particular ones. A tribe in New Guinea breaks colors into categories of 'warm' and 'cold' (so much for the science of spectroscopy in that society) !
The Eskimos have many different words for snow. Unless we ski a lot, most of us use one- 'snow.'
Christian missionaries in Hawaii were shocked to find no word or concept for sin.
In (North) American society, we tend to treat physical objects as if they had wills of their own. If a pen rolls off a table, we'll say 'It fell off.' or 'It rolled off the table and fell on the floor.' The Russian culture works differently. Their response would be something like 'They did it.' or 'They caused it to fall on the floor.'

Are we slaves to our language? The language we speak predisposes us to see the world in certain ways, but language is extremely flexible. As we find ourselves lacking words to describe new ideas, machines, processes, and technologies, we coin new terms and phrases. 'Black holes, ' 'Quarks, ' and even 'Supply side economics, ' are all creations of the mind and examples showing where language has lagged behind conceptual ideas in the mind.


Terms and Definitions


Related terms and definitions:

Cultural universals: These imply practices common to every culture. We've already discussed the Anthropologist, George Murdock's proposed list of general traits found in every culture. It seems that there are a large number of very general traits common to all cultures, but no specific ones like what, exactly, defines murder, incest, etc. in a society?
Ethnocentrism: This is the tendency to judge other cultures by the standards of our own. ('Body Ritual Among the Nacirema') .
Cultural relativism: The recognition that one culture cannot be arbitrarily judged by the standards of another. We need to adopt this stance when studying other cultures.
Cultural Integration: Culture is not a random assemblage of skills, customs, values, and beliefs. These elements are woven into a definite pattern and are somehow related to one another.
Cultural Diversity: Common culture gives us a sense of identity but there is a great deal of variation among groups. We witness cultural diversity on both the international and national levels. We've already talked about regional differences when we compared the North with the South in the United States.
Subcultures: Within a culture there may exist groups of people who have their own distinct sets of values, customs, and lifestyles. (Italian Americans, African Americans, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, the young, the middle-aged, the old, etc.) . We can even say that there is a subculture of college life.
Countercultures: a counterculture that is fundamentally at odds with the dominant culture. (The youth movement of the 1960's, for example) .
Real and Ideal culture: Ideal culture is what the values say we believe in, what we should practice, while real culture is what actually exists. Often there is a discrepancy between the two resulting in cultural strain.

Approaches to the Study of Culture

There are several approaches to the study of culture. Here are two examples:

Functionalism looks at the roles that components of culture play in maintaining the social order as a whole. What are the consequences for a society if we remove or change one element of its culture? (i.e. in America, the computer) . The problem with this approach is that it tends to overlook change when stressing the functional relationships between variables. It also has a pejorative or negative view of unbalance in the system, even when such unbalance may mean social improvement.

.

The Ecological approach examines the culture of a given society in relation to the total environment in which it exists. For example, why do people in India let sacred cows roam the streets by the millions (100 million) when so many people are hungry? One reason is that cows are needed to produce the oxen which Indian farmers must have to plow the fields. Without them, even more people will starve. Also, the cows produce over 700 million tons of manure each year. Half of it is used for fertilizer; the other half is used for fuel. When the cows die, they are eaten by the untouchables or outcasts who are the hungriest people in the population. The cows' hides are used in the leather industry.



Are we prisoners of our Culture?

No. Culture does make humans what they are, but humans also make culture. We constantly make changes to our culture. It guides us through life, but we also change and modify it to our needs and desires. If we could not do this, everything would be the same from generation to generation just like the bees and termites. It's hard for 2. Processes of cultural change: Cultural change is usually slow and deliberate. When changes occur in one cultural element (the economy) changes can be expected elsewhere (politics) . Things generally tend to be linked together.

There are three mechanisms by which cultural change occurs:

Discovery the perception or recognition of something that already exists- fire, the New World.
Invention combining old knowledge to produce something that did not exist before, the compass, for example.
Diffusion the spread of cultural elements from one culture to another. i.e. gun powder from China to the West. Most cultural change occurs in this manner- (Linton's 'One hundred Percent American' article) .

poem by Report problemRelated quotes
Added by Poetry Lover
Comment! | Vote! | Copy!

Share
 

Search


Recent searches | Top searches