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Posts tagged ‘culture’

The Security Provided By Communities

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The idea of security may not be something we, as citizens around the world, worry about every day.  Personal security may be one thing, but there’s the much broader, more community-dependent foundation to which I’m referring. In the United States, this security is represented in the most obvious sense by the judicial system, but no matter where you are in the world, it exists down to the level which we interact with on a daily basis. I’m talking about the security you get from having a landlord, the comfort from knowing that your closest neighbors can react with you in the case of an emergency, and the idea that by identifying with and contributing to a certain community you become provided for and protected.

This is a topic that has been explored and ruminated on in philosophy, anthropology, and political diatribe, and whose analysis reaches back to the debated origin of the tribe (the concept that societies evolved, functioned, and intermingled on the most basic level because of kinship). In looking at past societies, anthropologist Elman Service developed one theory that outlines a hierarchy of classification that exists in all human cultures. Service’s system defines four categories:

  1. Band: “Gatherer-hunter bands, which are generally egalitarian.”
  2. Tribe: “Tribal societies in which there are at least some instances of social rank and prestige.”
  3. Chiefdom: “Stratified tribal societies led by chieftains.”
  4. State: “Civilizations, with complex social hierarchies and organized, institutional governments.”

Considering the idea of societal organization, how might security play a role? Even looking at tribes (including non-human) that are based exclusively on kinship it is apparent that associating with your kin, those who have some intrinsic commonality, makes sense. As a tribe member, you gain the security of being part of a bigger group, which lends itself well to securing food and shelter and protection from other tribes.  Of course, at some point tribes must intermix (for marriage, power, etc.) and this is one of  the first theories of how the first societies started to become more complex melting pots of kin-based tribes self-defined by society created ideologies like nationality, religion, and common language.

Today, security is much more than the a buffer for the overlap culture and colonialism, it’s an international strategy necessitated by every nation to provide the best protection and resources for all its tribe-members. In modern international relations, this can manifest in different ways including espionage, military force, politics, and economic embargoes.

Overall, as society has evolved, so has the way we approach security on a grand scale. Security is a vestige of community existing today that traces back to the initial founding of society. It is something oft overlooked when we think about our communities, but perhaps should be one of the more important reasons to be a part and take pride in your community. As long as we can consider ourselves a part of at least one community, there is security in place that we depend on.

Culture Revisited

“Culture is the process by which a person becomes all that they were created capable of being.”
-Thomas Carlyle

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Culture is, and will always be, an enduring asset and indestructible value of every civilization.  It  can be traced back before the indoctrinations of modern society and the establishment of ancient society, even across species. Every pack, every tribe, every collection of close-knit community has a unique culture.

For me, it has always been important to see through the eyes of others, to put myself in the shoes of strangers and friends. I believe that what people want to believe in is beyond dispute and I’m not interested in changing beliefs. I think that by actively trying to see the world through the eyes of someone else I can get a new perspective about what people believe in and why they believe in that. I am fascinated by people and I also believe that every single person has their own culture. I want to understand how people define and shape their unique culture.

OurPangea is a personal mission to help people see the world the way others see it and understand that while we might all be living in the same world, everyone sees it through a different lens.  Different motivations, personalities, and relationships create an amorphous web of cultural interaction found in the broad strokes on international exchanges and in the minutia of day-to-day living.  And finally, I believe that we all need to make cultural compromises on an individual level and broad scale to live together best.

Those are just my opinions, and we’ve addressed many more over the past few weeks in our articles.  Here’s a full list of all of our culture-oriented articles from the past couple months!

Our Cultural Introduction
Amazing Cross-Cultural Partnerships: Bringing the World Together
Community: An Amalgamation of Smaller Community Groups
Musical Connections Across the Globe
Lovable Differences
Traveling Music
Austin and OurPangea: Preserving the Hidden Gem Weird Capital of the World
Austin Music Culture
The Beautiful Game
From You To All of Us
The World is Shrinking!
What Does It Mean to Affect?
The Importance of Teamwork
What Does Culture Mean to Community?
The Spirit of Community

What topics do you want us to explore??

What Does Culture Mean To Community?

What does culture mean to community? Everything.

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“Culture” is defined as the “customary beliefs, social norms and material traits of a particular social group.” It comes from the latin word cultura, meaning “growing” or “cultivation,” which makes a great deal of sense when you consider the origins of our own cultures and how they evolve over time.

Culture is both a personal and collective experience. Our cultural experiences and identity grow from the communities we are a part of. It starts at home and spirals outward as we interact with the world around us. As a people, we derive our values and world views from the people and communities closest to us. Whether those values come from your parents, your teachers, your friends or from iconic cultural figures, the values we take away from our communities all profoundly impact the way we see and experience life.

That’s why community is so important.

The sharing of cultural values is undoubtedly give-and-take. We learn from others as others learn from us. While community might start as a relatively small group, people continue to expand their communities and the cultures that exist within those communities as their lives go on. This type of sharing helps us gain a greater understanding of each other, which is a necessary step in bringing us together.

Whether we define our communities as our families or our hometowns or our country, our cultural values will always be shaped by those communities while also holding those communities together. As we strive toward a global community it’s important that we remember this and discover the things that we all have in common. From our perspective at OurPangea it’s  mutual understanding and common values that play a huge role in what can ultimately bring us together and make the world a better place.

The Importance Of Teamwork

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As important, and as brilliant, as every single person has the potential to be, nothing can quite change the world like a good team. Two heads are always better than one, of course. The core of OurPangea can be traced to this simple root: teamwork. We’re bringing people together as teams to form communities. Those communities are joining as teams to further their goals.

Think about some of the lauded most teams the world has seen. John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Laurel and Hardy, Siskel and Ebert, Abbot and Costello. Batman and Robin, Simon and Garfunkel, Venus and Serena Williams. These teams don’t even have to be limited to two – vastly different groups such as Rush, the Three Musketeers, and of course the Three Stooges prove that otherwise.

Some of these great teams are entirely fictional. Some create art for us to enjoy, some excel in sports to entertain us. Some create music, others art. Some work together to create new worlds of technology for us to explore. Where would we be today without the revolutionary teamwork of Bill Gates and Paul Allen, creating Microsoft and changing the world? Who could forget the incredible beach volleyball dynasty of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings, who dominated the Olympics and the sport for more than a decade, becoming one of the most dominant, dynamic duos in any sport ever? Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein becoming perhaps the defining element in creating a unique and modern American musical identity? Or Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, as they created one of the most beloved fictional characters of all time, the great Mickey Mouse?

But the most important thing surrounding all of these great teams is that they work best with another person. Every friendship, marriage, relationship, partnership, negotiation to ever exist revolves around two (or more!) parties coming together to use teamwork, always becoming more than the sum of its parts. The synergy and magic of collaboration is what drives these teams forward, feeding off each other and sharing ideas back and forth to find that the world can be a better place when you reach the hand of togetherness to another.

When two people, or two groups, work together with an idea on any level – person to person or culture to culture – the result changes both parties forever, and creates a wholly new idea. Lennon and McCartney’s “A Day in the Life” or “Eleanor Rigby”; or Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s creation of the Fantastic Four, X-Men, and hundreds of beloved characters; or Michael Jordan’s groundbreaking six championships he shared with Scottie Pippen, could never have happened with just one of them. Both members of each tandem contributed in their own unique ways, creating works of music, art, and sports that were not only a mix of each, but also with their own new identity born of collaboration.

Who knows? Maybe someday soon we can add Ari Franklin and Noah Simon to the esteemed list above, for their creation of the potentially world-changing OurPangea (I’d be more than happy to take second billing, of course). It’s been a privilege to work with these two, and watch the creative process explode in action as we all strive our hardest to help collaborate with the world.

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