Why is culture important?

A knowledge of international culture can help us in a variety of ways, but I would like to discuss three that are especially important to me on a personal level.

 

The first is that life is a mystery. There are so many questions that people have, which are universal. If we know more about culture, especially international culture, we will be able to compare other ways of life with our own. Maybe in another culture there are religious beliefs which our own religion has not been able to answer for our own satisfaction. Life is hard. Anything we can do to make life easier surely is a good thing. Knowledge of how people in other countries do things can help us learn more about our own country. Learning more about our own country can help us learn more about ourselves as individuals.

 

The second is that knowledge of culture can help us focus on the more important things in life. We waste so much time watching mindless television, etc. And that encourages us to think about life in a more elevated sphere. If we watch the Kardashians and never shows like The Waltons, for example, it is easier to think about more superficial issues. The Kardashians teach us about the base elements in life. The Waltons upholds a certain moral structure which helps us live in a more moral context. In other words, when we watch television shows where God is celebrated, it is easier to be good. Walking around a museum offers us a chance to connect with the past, the chance to understand more about the present, and prepare for the future. We see ourselves as smaller, as part of a bigger whole, rather than focusing only on ourselves in a selfish and self-absorbed way. We think about simple things like rocks and ships in a new way.

 

The third is that a knowledge of international culture can help us understand other people. It is so easy to judge and stereotype people. if we are isolated within our own peer group. So much of racism is based on ignorance. There is not just one right way to do anything. We can learn from people from other cultures, and teach them as well. In life, we should teach others we know more than, and we should learn from others who know more than we do.

 

Every opportunity we get, we should go to museums, learn about a new subject, etc. We don’t need to read if we don’t like to read; we don’t need to learn in a way that is uncomfortable for us. But we should make a concerted effort to learn about culture, to learn about life, to learn about ourselves, and to learn about the world we live in. 

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