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Cultural evolution


This is the very best definition for culture, is published in

even if to my opinion insufficien:
Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts.
Human culture in wider definition is shared pattern of behaviors and interactions, cognitive constructs and understanding that are learned by socialization. Thus, it can be seen as the growth of a group identity fostered by social patterns unique to the group.
Other definition of culture i found in
• Culture refers to the cumulative deposit of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the universe, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving.
• Culture is the systems of knowledge shared by a relatively large group of people.
• Culture is communication, communication is culture.
• Culture in its broadest sense is cultivated behavior; that is the totality of a person’s learned, accumulated experience which is socially transmitted, or more briefly, behavior through social learning.
• A culture is a way of life of a group of people–the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.
• Culture is symbolic communication. Some of its symbols include a group’s skills, knowledge, attitudes, values, and motives. The meanings of the symbols are learned and deliberately perpetuated in a society through its institutions.
• Culture consists of patterns, explicit and implicit, of and for behavior acquired and transmitted by symbols, constituting the distinctive achievement of human groups, including their embodiments in artifacts; the essential core of culture consists of traditional ideas and especially their attached values; culture systems may, on the one hand, be considered as products of action, on the other hand, as conditioning influences upon further action.
• Culture is the sum of total of the learned behavior of a group of people that are generally considered to be the tradition of that people and are transmitted from generation to generation.
• Culture is a collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another.
All this definitions relate culture only to humans. Yet well known phenomena is existent culture in animal kingdom, especially among primates or other intellectually higher skilled animals.
As to response to the following essay the next discussion occured:

EugenR Says:
April 13, 2015 at 6:22 pm | Reply
To my opinion there should be made differentiation between cultural phenomena that is not transformable to other group, because it has no universal tools of communication, and cultural phenomena that can out reach to other social groups by universal communication means.
The first type of culture distributes itself only within the unique social group, and propagates by missionary persuasion, sometimes peacefully, but many times using force on individuals or social groups to join the group. The basic atom of this culture is usually faith. Such a culture, if it has higher propagation rate, tends to annihilate other cultures, and usually replaces them. It is usually very intolerant to other cultures.
The second type of cultural phenomena is rather supplementary cultural phenomena, that can live side by side of any cultural phenomena. It propagates by its own attractiveness, like junk food culture, clothing, generally pop culture. Usually this kind of cultural phenomena is harshly opposed by the first type of cultural phenomena, because it sees is as penetrative to its purified cultural values. (The Communistic opposition to jeans or western pop music )
As to the money, it is a very unique and interesting cultural phenomena. It is on one side voluntarily adopted cultural value, but still it has the power to enforce itself upon the members of any cultural membership. Money has universal power of penetrating into any cultural type of social grouping.
• Patrice Ayme Says:
April 14, 2015 at 1:06 am | Reply
One aim of the Royal Society paper was to explain that “Memetics” had no standing. For reasons I explained in the past.
So “Faith” can’t be a meme. Anyway, I don’t like “faith”. We all have faith to function.
Islam, Christianity, are superstitions. Not a problem with the latter; it’s just a mask on Western Europe. Islam, though, claims to be everything. That’s a problem for the societies thus affected.
• brodix Says:
April 14, 2015 at 2:47 am | Reply
There is top down and bottom up. Top down is naturally dictatorial and only seems not to be when it is providing purpose, direction and sustenance to the people, that the majority of them don’t feel oppressed by it.
Meanwhile bottom up are those influences which garner support from large numbers of people naturally, though they then tend to become commercial items and strategies.
Money is a collective promise and everyone likes to think everyone will support them. The problem is that it tends to displace more informal relations between people and then can be used to take value out of those relations. Think of it as the corner store, versus Walmart. Walmart might be cheaper and more efficient, but the larger strategy is to drain more value out than it puts back in, while the corner store tends to help keep more of the value in the community. Money is a communal contract and all communities will have some form. Colonialism functioned by moving in and replacing local currencies with the colonizers money. Remember the slogan that started the American Revolution; No taxation without representation. Of course we were an implanted culture, but in Africa, and the far east, native cultures were controlled by controlling their medium of exchange.
Islam is the most doctrinaire monotheism and it shows. Judaism is much more tribal and Christianity has strong pagan elements, most notably represented by the trinity and how it was used to mirror original belief systems, as it spread. Islam is much more focused on the singular nature of the theory of God, so there is little motivation to see two sides, or shades of grey, etc.
They even blocked my attempt at a comment in this latest post, about walking;
“I am fairly lucky in this regard. Having spent my life in the horse and farm side of the horse racing industry, when I’m not out walking or working around the farm, I’m riding horses around it.
It is, as my sister likes to say, a good life, if you don’t tire. When I do tire, I’m more inclined to read, then socialize with other horse people, given I’m not much good at small talk and have an aversion to alcohol.
With the internet, now I even get to opinionate on what I read.
Walking is not just about balance, but motion as well. Plants are extremely balanced, but as they don’t move, have no need for a central nervous system to generate ever more complex feedback from the different environments that are encountered by moving.
The problem of motion is that it generates reaction from the context and the more motion, the more reaction. Which is of course, another expression of balance! So, to a very real extent, this manifestation of thought we are all expressing, arises from instabilities. Perfect stability is a flatline.
The question then is as to how we act in and react to our environment, both to propel it in presumably positive directions, as well as to counterbalance the more destructive actions of our fellow beings.
Which might start to involve opinions not focused on the topic at hand, so I won’t go there.
Though it is safe to say, reading the news of late, things appear to be getting more and more out of balance on a global scale and the resulting instability will both remove and generate options we can only guess at.”
I’m suspecting I probably won’t be around there much more.
o EugenR Says:
April 14, 2015 at 6:53 am | Reply
Dear Brodix. There are many important issues in your response. So let me react one by one.
Top – bottom management, is one way to look on culture. If to speak about monotheistic religions as cultural phenomena, to my understanding only the Catholic Church is top bottom managed. This is why it had historically made so many fathalic mistakes like inquisition, corrupted papacy, etc. The other monotheistic religions are less bottom down, that’s why probably frome personal faith point of view are more successful in the modern era of individualism. Still the Catholic church has many effective marketing tools. (Michelangelo, Raphael, st Peter square, you name the rest ). But as any marketing tool, it is just surface, without truth beneath.
Money, is the new universal God to believe in. At 2007 this God almost failed. But the cardinals of the money reacted very swiftly and efficiently, and saved the idol. Yet this idol as any other is false. The todays economic system, I use to call “Capital-Market system “, necessarily has to be doomed, otherwise the humanity with all its good and bad culture will vanish. I am writing now a whole book about it, but here I will put just a small hints about it. The need of accumulated money to make more money, what is called in economic jargon yield and interest, forces to impose an economic policy of unrestrained and non selective economic growth, that has to bring eventually to a total collapse of humanity, you hinted also about in your response.
Any religions, including the monotheistics have in their core a story you have to believe in. The stories from modern perspective are not very impressive, ( Shakespeare impresses me more ), scientifically are many times idiotic, even if occasionally right, ( like correctly describing some long forgotten historical events). Yet many people have a need to belong and believe in some force above them. Until this mental phenomena will not be explained and cured, you will have religious belief systems around, with all its devastating effect we see around us.
As to small talk we are on the same boat.
Central nervous system, as it appears is far from centrally managed. In contrary, the brain apears to be a perfectly harmonised collaboration system. I wish human societies could addopt some of its systems. Many historical catastrophes could have been prevented. But as it seems human societies have difficulty to act harmoniously if there is no central power above them. Patrice likes to mention in this issue the Swiss political system as example that could work. I think, unless most of the people will have deep understanding of the realities, as contrary to the understanding the world of marketing lies as the reality, no social harmony can be established.

brodix Says:


I think that with lots of things, there is feedback between complex environments and basic processes feeding through them. When you have hundreds of millions of people interrelating, it’s as much physics, as politics. I think that since we exist in this physical environment and the primary dynamic describing it is thermodynamics, that if we consider human activity in such terms, it might explain a lot. The more notable features in thermodynamics are the vortices. Think about those Hadjis swirling around that rock in Mecca and pulling a quarter of the world around with them. Think of Switzerland as the eye of the storm that is Europe.
Then there are lots of other behaviors. Waves. Bubbles. Heat and cold. Storm fronts.
Then you get into how thermodynamics functions geologically and there are earthquakes, volcanos, mountain ranges, plains.
Then think of how people move around, both pulled and pushed by forces larger than they. Heat building up. Energies building and dissipating. Fronts and storms.
The poles of attraction and repulsion of hope and fear.
Sometimes even nice days, where everything is calm and stable.
We go through those periodic bouts of pushing each other around and after the energy dissipates, settle into boundaries and customs. Then the pressures start building again and the powers that be direct them as best as possible, eventually drawing the circles ever tighter and more and more are left outside. Then that pressure builds, breaking down more walls and soon a big storm comes along again.

  • EugenR Says:
    Dear Brodix, thanks for the poetry of physics and social behavior you wrote as a response. I really enjoyed it. What i lack in your metaphoric poetry is intentionality of the social phenomena and the emerging properties of physical ones.
    The hadji is not just quarter of world population circling a black stone, it is also a social movement with a flag representing faith, with intentionality to enforce this faith on the other three quarters of the world population.
    The second law of thermodynamics means that in every dynamic process you have to pay more than you can gain out of the process. The emerging property of this law is that the accessible world resources are limited, and these limitation will be imposed on us either gradually or in one big lash.
    To my opinion the “Arab spring”, is an emerging phenomena out of the social networking. These emerging events are unpredictable, since they are by definition not part of the system itself that ignited these emerging states, but jump out of nowhere due to the system. Of course the best example of emerging states is consciousness, but also unexpected social-political events can be seen as unpredictable emerging states coming out of social systems, created with entirely different intention.

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    I am working on a research paper where I talk about culture. I would like to know the exactly name of the author of this blog, so I can cite/quote as it should be. Thank you.

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