CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING

With the World going global, communication instant, many different religions/languages/philosophies and view points, the understanding and comprehending of differences is now more important than it has ever been.  As part of cultural understanding religious education should be required in all schools. However this is not advocating for or against any particular religion(s). Instead there should be an in depth study on Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Daoism, Hinduism, Indigenous Peoples Beliefs, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism, Shinto and Zoroastrianism along with the look at the sub denominations/sects of each religion. In addition things such as the role of media, fashion, politics, law, music, culture and humanities should be examined as well. It is a shame that many schools today are cutting funding to the arts and humanities while trying to keep religion out of schools. Between graphic design,  instant downloads of songs and fast travel/instant communication it is only asking to increase tensions instead of creating bridges of cultural understanding. 

CULTURAL CIRCLE & ELEMENTS

HOW THE CULTURAL CIRCLE & ELEMENTS CAME ABOUT

Late one night David Monlux was procrastinating on his assignments (as all good students do) and being late to the disdain of some of his professors. During his procrastination he got a snack and sat down in front of the TV at 3 AM. The Lion King came on. During the movie he started reflecting on some of his previous high school/college classes of Comparative Religions, Global Business Education, American Cultural Experience, Global Cultural Experience, Intro to International Relations, the Practice of Diplomacy, World Regional Geography, Model UN, Anthropology of Language/Culture, Cuban Culture/Politics, Mexican Culture/Literature, Diplomacy Lab II, International Political Economy, his time in the Model Arab League and his study abroads in 5 different countries. Then the famous part of the Lion King (The Circle of Life) came on combined with the memory of a bar in Puebla Mexico that had a Periodic Table of Beer Styles and the idea was born. As any good inventor (Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Frank Lloyd Wright (Architecture) & James Cameron) for their field, Monlux skipped his class the next day and spent all day developing this so future students in cultural studies would have an easier time learning basic concepts in the field. 

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE CIRCLE & ELEMENTS

CIRCLE: Since culture changes overtime and is forever variable due to changes in governments, technology, value sets, religious customs and many other factors that influence things over time, it is a circle without arrows. To guess which came first would be like guessing the chicken or the egg. Here is what the key take aways are from each area of the circle. 

Law: Based off the laws enacted and how the justice system is formed its great insight to either the reflection of the culture, the mindset of the dictator or the value set of the occupying powers. 

Media goes a long way toward control of the information and shaping public opinion on various issues. 

Memory is super important to the culture of any society. Is history a big deal and engrained in them to the point that they still dispute something that happened over a thousand years ago? Is the culture forward thinking and could care less about the past? This plays into traditions and value sets. Also when dealing with nations as a diplomat it is also very important as well. 

Music: You can learn a lot about a society by its music or lack of music. From the genres listened to in mass, to the underground rebel culture or complete shutout, its very revealing about the people. 

Religion plays a major role in society. In addition even if one religion (such as Christianity in the US) dominates it can still be a divided culture with many different denominations. Is it a split religion (Islam/Christianity) like Albania? Is it Atheist China or Shinto Japan? The religion greatly influences the value sets, helps shape the memory and is a very important aspect to know when dealing with people. 

Sports reveals both the fun and competitive side of people. It also gives a hint at gender roles and values in a society based on who is allowed to participate and at what level. Are the sports segregated by gender or coed? Is the culture rough with an obsession of rugby? Are the united by US Soccer/World Football? Does American Football rule the day? Are the sophisticated with golf and tennis? Is there a mix of sports? Does it belong to the wealthy, the common person or is it a national past time for everyone? Sports is very important and often overlooked. 

 

Politics is where the different factions and groups usually come  to a forefront and lay out their positions of an ideology or their constituency.  

Economics influences the cash flow of the culture and what is available. It can also raise the standard of living and bring in imported luxury items and foreign labor or can cause people to leave and create isolationism. 

ELEMENTS are put into 5 different blocks. 

Economics matches what is in the circle while controlling trade, wages and job availability. 

 

Information Flow is very important for culture and opinions to keep evolving. Once censorship and isolationism is adopted, a place is cut off from most of the rest of the World with propaganda press (Cuba & North Korea) the society starts falling behind. 

Expressive Venues: Are people plain with the arts? Are decorations simple, elaborate or non existent? How do people get their entertainment and joy in life? Fashion reveal if modesty or sexiness is important/forbidden/non issue in addition to the climate. Jokes tell you what that culture thinks is fun or forbidden and the music tells you if modern rock & roll to soothe the soul exist or if it is the high classical Beethoven culture. Also a lack of music can tell you just as much if not more. 

Values tell you about traditional v lgbtq marriage. It also tells you the type of cuisine available to the masses and what type of culinary pallet has developed over time. It also explore the standard operating procedures and ways of doing things while looking at party (fiesta) rules and social graces and how it has mixed with religion over time. 

Laws/Politics tells you how stuff works, where the boundaries are, what value is place/prioritized strategic on working with others, how people are treated and what happens to political dissent. 

PHOTO CREDITS

1: Pictures in the Cultural Circle: Microsoft Word 2010 Clip Art. 

2: Periodic Table of Beer Styles: Personal Photo taken with cellphone by David Monlux at a bar in Puebla May 2017. Originally uploaded to Facebook, then cropped to focus only on the table and block the names of people who reacted (like/ha ha) and commented.