Culture, does it define us?

Culture is the activity we engage in as human beings and the symbolism we associate with our backgrounds, what country we come from and how we act around others are all defining the individual we turn out to be,  our beliefs and morals are developed from the culture we are born or raised in. A person can define themselves on the customs and traditions in which they carry out in their day-to-day lives. Culture is almost built into us as it were, but does it define the way we think and the way we live?

I can only speak for myself when I say this, I believe a culture define’s the way we act, think and what we believe are correct morals. Our culture’s teach us traditions that have and will be passed on from one generation to the next. However I have my doubts on whether cultures in the Western world especially, will carry on their traditions with the ever-changing, fast paced internet and social networking, the world is becoming smaller and smaller! Cultures and traditions are nearly merging with each other. Cyberculture is taking the world by storm, emerging over the past number of years from computer networks, the internet and social networking. All of these resources can instill other beliefs and morals from neighbouring countries to your own native dwelling.

Migration levels have risen immensely over the past number of years, this is certainly  contributing to a slight change in our traditions as the majority of us live in multicultural cities. We’re living in a period of rapid globalisation, many global brands like McDonald’s, Coca Cola, and Apple are known right across the world, even in the poorest of countries.

I have been lucky enough to live within two other cultures as well as my own culture, I have experienced the Nepalese way of life and currently being based in Scotland I have seen how the Scottish culture is still as strong as what I had known the Scottish culture to be. From my experience each culture has different  values, beliefs and morals. My native country of Ireland and Scotland share similar cultural beliefs and values.

During my time in Nepal, I was lucky enough to live in an orphanage, learning first hand the customs and traditions that were carried out on a day-to-day basis. This made me think about how different my culture was back home in Ireland. Traditionally Nepal is a religious place with Hinduism and Buddhism practiced there. The kids got together every evening for prayer, which in their culture is each person gathering together in a circle holding hands, singing, clapping, smiling and having fun. Even though they lived in conditions horrifying to people living in the western world, in places like the USA, the UK and across Europe it was their culture that defined the way they lived and made them extremely happy.

It really has taught me that culture isn’t all about material goods, try not get wrapped up in the latest technology Apple has produced, or the newest social networking site, take a time out, sit with you family and friends and share your stories from the day through good ‘ole’ traditional word of mouth. Not only will it make you feel better but it will help you revive your own culture, the culture that you were raised in not the culture that has developed around you through technology.

After you’ve finished, perhaps write a blog about it, because lets face it, there is no getting away from this cyberculture phenomenon that is only going to go from strength the strength. Just be sure not to lose who you are and where your morals and beliefs have come from. You’ll be a happier person.

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