From Cult to Culture
Ever get that feeling that something simple is exactly the opposite?
Well then, haaave you met ‘Culture’? It’s one of the most ambiguous words I have come across. It’s like one of those motherhood words that touches upon such a broad wave of topics, I mean seriously, it’s like trying to capture oceans of words with just one!
If you’re like me and want to cut through all the academic and scientific explanations to simply ELI5 (Explain it to me Like I’m 5 years old) here you go-
At its simplest, culture is a shared system of beliefs and values that is passed down to like-minded people (If you’re 5 and you still understood this, good job kiddo)
Culture is what makes us eat, pray, love, dance, dress, talk, move, think in a particular template. Each of us operates on auto-pilot for most parts of our lives and the way we do it has a lot to do with the culture we were born into or choose to adopt. Your culture is your conditioning, your bedrock and most people spend their whole lives prescribing to a culture that they didn’t even choose. It’s a little scary to think about it this way, but a reality-check is better than continuing in ignorance, yeah?
If you’re already thinking about it, then you, my sheeple deserve a cookie, Religion is the biggest influencer for culture. If you prescribe to religion and believe in it, all the power to you, but try looking at religion from an objective viewpoint just for a moment. When you strip it down to its bones, religion is a system that tells you what to wear, eat, think and how to do those and when to do those and much more. It gives you an identity and tells you the story about yourself that you will tell others. In many ways, it makes you feel part of this ‘exclusive’ group of people and gives you a ‘larger than yourself’ identity.
But why stop at religion? If you’re part of the fan club of let’s say, Liverpool FC. You attend game screenings with your fellow club members, wear the jersey, dress and talk a particular way and jeer at the opposing team and their followers in a particular way, that too is a culture.
So would be ‘Potterheads’ (I am one, anyone on here?). With their curiosity about how the story would have continued, to their choices of dressing and their genuine belief that magic does exist and their rage when JK tweets something that goes against the way they believe, also comprises of the classic traits of culture.
What’s interesting is that modern speak is slowly replacing the word ‘culture’ with ‘fandom’ and that word might be slightly more colloquial for us to relate with. We’ve all certainly all heard about Naruto, Game of Thrones, Dragon Ball Z, Mario, DOTA, PUBG fandoms.
Things with culture aren’t all sunshine and moonlight though. There is a definite downside to it and that is the reluctance of culture to adapt and the way it looks at the world as a ‘zero-sum game’. One of the reasons culture resists is because its reason for existence is providing you with uniformity and a ‘seamless auto-pilot’ mode. Because no matter what we claim, deep down our brains looooveeee consistency and the comfortable, familiar path (Case in point always choosing to watch re-runs of Friends/The Office/Brooklyn 99 rather than starting a new show).
I talk about this and much more on the podcast with my fellow Sheeple! If you’re looking to zone out and join a light, hearty and extremely candid-humorous discussion, I promise you that you’re going to have a great time (we did have one for sure!)
You can listen to our podcast here: https://bit.ly/culturally-defined
This is Zee signing off and I’ll see you on the podcast, my friends :)