To begin with, let’s have a look at what culture means according to Wikipedia:
Culture is a word for people’s ‘way of life’, meaning the way groups do things. Different groups of people may have different cultures. A culture is passed on to the next generation by learning, whereas genetics are passed on by heredity. Culture is seen in people’s writing, religion, music, clothes, cooking, and in what they do.
Now, I have an interesting question for you: Do you believe that our lifestyle gives birth to our culture or is it the other way around? The food we eat, the people we meet, the language we speak, and even our thought process, everything traces back to our culture. The roots of our age-old culture has grown so deep that we adjust our lifestyle around it. Let’s talk about food we eat or rather food we choose to eat. The meals we eat throughout the day are influenced by the culture we have been following for so many years. Let’s have a look at below statements related to food habits that we frequently hear from people:
“My family is vegetarian, so I prefer vegetarian. In fact, non-veg food is not even allowed inside my house, ever!”
“Rice, daal, sbzi, roti is our traditional food. We don’t want to eat any such food that takes us far away from our culture.”
“I don’t understand why people eat unhealthy food so much and risk their lives by feeding their bodies with all the junk.”
If I were to label each of the above statements, I would label them as vegetarian culture, primitive culture, and diet culture. Similarly, there can be gym culture for people who follow gym and exercise regularly, fast-food culture for people who eat lots of fast food, I-don’t-give-a-damn culture for people who eat whatever they can and whatever they want caring much less about its health effects, and so on.
Having labeled the above statements, let’s refine the definition of culture:
Culture is a collection of practices that people inherit into their lifestyle based on their learnings passed on to them from their ancestors or gained directly or indirectly from social circle, media, internet or any source of technology.
Enough about food, let’s talk about something else, like music you listen to, or your fashion style, or your spending habits. Most of you choose these things as per your own personal taste but still there are many for whom these are not choices of free will but rather imposed on them by their culture that has been passed down to generations.
Someone following his culture may or may not know its entire background but he certainly knows that being part of the same, what principles he needs to follow. But it can be other way round too. You can decide what kind of lifestyle you want to choose based on your priorities or standards of living and therefore after having it stabilized with your routine, it becomes your new culture. So, rather than relying on practices that others have been following over and over, generation to generation, you can choose to modify it, or unfollow it entirely and create a new one that would give you a better lifestyle – the one which earns you good health, sufficient money, happiness, security and freedom.
Now further refining our definition of culture, it says:
Culture is a collection of practices that people, willingly or unwillingly, inherit into their lifestyle based on their learnings passed on to them from their ancestors or gained directly or indirectly from social circle, media, internet, any source of technology or their own free will.
So, go ahead and make your choice. Set your priorities right, make necessary changes in your lifestyle, follow the right culture or create a better one!
2 thoughts on “A Taste of Culture”
Very well written Varun.