So, you can see that culture is "the" major influence on human life. And that the are many
    "cultures", and even more mini ones within those (called "sub-cultures". It results in great
    Cultural Diversity. And it is because of that rich and wide diversity, that the word "normal"
    is virtually impossible to define. We are born into it, learn it (a process called enculturation
    (or socialization) - and then pass it on to the next generation.

    Our minds are like filters - really "magical" filters: everything we learn, hear, see, feel,
    experience,  etc, is "filtered" through our intellect & emotions - which were  shaped  by
    culture. But the mind- filter  adds new information in, so it changes the memory  banks
    - the memory banks are growing continually. This is basically what the branch of
    psychology called "Neuro-Linquistics" tries to address.  (see the illustrations below).

                   Please don't use the words "mind" and "brain" interchangeably as synonyms:
                                           they are distinctly different from each other.
Culture is
the unwritten "Code or Rule Book" for a specific Human Group or Society's
Behaviour, in the context of an almost boundless spectrum of immense diversely
variant human behaviour: an
Introduction to the
Social Construction of our "reality".
How is one to live a moral and compassionate existence when one finds
darkness not only in one's culture but within oneself?  There are simply
no answers to some of the great pressing questions.  You continue to
live them out, making your life a worthy expression  of leaning into the light.
~Barry Lopez
Due to the various ways the word "culture" is used in day-to-day life, it can be, and is
often is often confusing:
Due to the for it has at least three distinctly different meanings.
    * 1, the one we encounter more often, is where "culture" is used to refer to such
       things as music, art, writing (literary), poetry, crafts, etc (creative activities, or
       "cultural activities").
    *2, is the one that scientist create in their labs (making a "culture" in a petri dish),
          for example.
    *3a, this is the one this page/article is about.
             In the simplest terms, a "culture" is a group of people who share a common
             way of life. So "culture" is the set of customs, traditions, and values of a society
             or community, such as an ethnic group or nation. It refers to the entire way of
             life of a group of people - your way of life: It is the pattern or blueprint (or
            "rules or code") people live by. Basically, it's what you know, and what you are
             familiar with; It is (it became) your "comfort zone" - your "normal".
             Except, it isn't quite that simple - because it actually refers to a bewildering and
             confusing complexity that includes all areas and aspects of our lives: a process by,
             that begins in childhood, by which we begin to learn about, acquire, and largely
             internalize this "code" or "rules".
             This needs to be expanded upon to outline ALL the many "components" in, and
            of, "culture, which leads us to,
    *3b, Culture encompasses the entire range of phenomena that are
            transmitted through social learning in human societies. This means
              that it is carried over from one generation to the next: one of the reasons why
             "social change" is often very slow.

    Expanded outline:
    Cultural universals are found in all human societies; these include expressive forms
    like art, music, dance, ritual, religion, and technologies like tool usage, cooking,
    shelter, and clothing. It includes and involves shared patterns of behaviours 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. We acquire it gradually, often without being aware of it, and
    because we're unaware, we don't reflect on the things we're acquiring, nor do we
    examine them. And because of that, they go deep - and root themselves tenaciously
    - I encourage you to read  the Education-Socialization page mentioned above. This
    is the process of "Social Construction of our "reality".

    "Culture encompasses religion, food, what we wear, how we wear it, our language,
    marriage, music, what we believe is right or wrong, how we sit at the table, how we
    greet visitors, how we behave with loved ones, and a million other things." (Cristina
    De Rossi, an anthropologist at Barnet and Southgate College in London)

    So, what exactly is Culture?
    * Culture is the major determinant of what is "acceptable" - and what isn't; what is
      "possible",  and what isn't; what is "permissible", and what isn't (in that culture).
    * Culture is what teaches us (informs and "programs or conditions" us) to what our
      "limits"  for achieving our potential are: and can enhance our  chances, or retard it.
    * The family is the smallest cultural unit or component of society - it is a
      culture itself: a form of "subculture" (culture within a culture - mini
      culture); and  it is our initial point of contact and interaction with
     "the world".
    * It is that way of life, and way of doing things, that you regard as "normal".
    * "Normal" really means "what you're used to" - other people's ways that are different
       are called "strange", "weird", "crazy", "wacko", or "abnormal". For further
       discussion on this, also see "Normal". The thing is, those "other people" regard
       your way, in the same light.

                                   Every human is born into an established "culture":
                                                whether it is "simple" or complex.
                           Our personal "worlds" are virtually Social Constructions:
                                                           achieved through Culture.

    Culture is important for shaping social relationships, maintaining, enforcing and
    challenging social order (organization). Social "order" (conformity) is achieved
    through, rules, laws, peer pressure and ridicule (fear), etc. It also shapes and
    determines how we make sense of the world and our place in it, and in shaping our
    everyday actions and experiences in society. Culture is composed of both non-material
    and material things.

    "Social scientists" define the non-material aspects of culture as the values and beliefs,
    language and communication, and practices that are shared in common by a group of
    people. So far, this has covered the simplified aspects of culture: now comes the more
    complex, pervasive and insidious expanded view.

    The intrinsic all-inclusive aspects of Culture.
    * Culture is made up of our knowledge, common sense, assumptions, and expectations.
    * It is also the rules, norms, laws, and morals that govern society; the words we use as
      well as how we speak and write them (what sociologists call "discourse"); and the
      symbols we use to express meaning, ideas, and concepts (like traffic signs and emojis,
      for example).
    * Culture is also what we do and how we behave and perform (think theater and dance).
       It informs and is encapsulated in how we walk, sit, carry our bodies, and interact with
      others; how we behave depending on place, time, and "audience"; how we express
      identities of race, class, and gender and sexuality, among others.
    * Culture also includes the collective practices we participate in, such as religious
      ceremonies, the celebration of secular holidays, and attending sporting events.
    * Culture dictates everything about us - how we dress, what we eat, what we think, and
       how we think, where we live, how and what (or whom) we worship, how we earn a
       living, what rules and standards guide our lives; what our "value system" is; who to
       marry, or not. It "teaches" us about manners and rudeness.
    * It's what we base all our ideas and views about "what is appropriate" and "normal"on.

    Material culture is composed of the things that humans make and use. This aspect of
    culture includes a wide variety of things, from buildings, technological gadgets, and
    clothing, to film, music, literature, and art, among others. Aspects of material culture
    are more commonly referred to as cultural products.

    To Summarize: culture structures, shapes or creates our "reality":
  • Family life
  • Child rearing
  • Language
  • Myths and stories
  • Sense of "right" and "wrong"
  • History
  • Religion
  • Division of labour
  • Birth and death rituals
  • Food
  • What a "man", "woman", and "child" is, etc, etc.
  • it shapes everything; . . . . .
Dawn Cove Abbey
"Roadside Assistance" For Your Journey Through Life
- Dedicated to helping people return (and maintain) sanity and decency to life -
From the eBook: "One! The Journey hOMe", by Klaas Tuinman M.A  © 2007-2019

Questions and comments welcomed.