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A Blog About Culture

Recognition, Situation, Identity, Reality

Left to my own devices, I’d probably either starve or singlehandedly keep microwave meals in business. To feed myself, I orchestrated a small get-together of friends for a Sunday night casual BBQ. Except I realized that I don’t have a grill, so it turned into a chili cookout. As I greeted guests and waved away questions like “What should I bring?” and offers to help clean up, I had one of those moments–one of those moments that spawned this blog.

There are several components to my thoughts, and I won’t list all of them because they would be boring and a little more personal than I’d like to get on the internet. I would like to say how closely my family and cultural upbringings impacted the ways in which I was acting during the cookout and the ways I act in general.

  1. How I thought I ought to act is the way I acted
  2. The culture of entertaining and giving without return pervades (see next)
  3. The “old-fashioned” idea of a “good hostess”
  4. Feeling like “a grownup”

Most of these feelings come from the way that my family raised me. I learned how to act in this way because when my family entertains, it is fairly formal in manner. I’d say that my comfort for this style was bred from familiarity on a personal level, but also that the nebulous culture affects the actions of the personal.

The actions of my family members, as members of communities and cultures themselves, imparted cultural impacts onto me. It’s one thing to say “I do this because it’s the way my (family)(old country)(friend)(etc) does it,” but we must also say that “they do it because their cultures do it.” This concept seems obvious, yet I think that many people think in terms of only one level meta- to their experience. We must jump another level to understand why and from there to discover how.

(I don’t even want to think about what happens if we transcend another level; from there life may be unknowable.)

The ways we act, the selves we perceive, the selves we want, and the selves we are reflect cultural impacts on large as well as more focused (family, for example) scales. They’re all parts of the same picture, though, aren’t they? Well, if all of us exhibit cultural impacts from various levels of experience, if all of us are comprised inherently of those cultural multiplicities…

  • How is a community sewn together?
  • What specifically makes Us instead of Them?

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