The word “culture” is so strange because it can encompass so many definitions. In some contexts, it means the particular inventions, achievements, arts, beliefs, and spirit of a particular group. But in others, it means the melting pot of cultural strength gathered from centuries and millennia from peoples near and far from all over the world. In the increasingly global and connected society, both of these definitions are merging and changing to create entirely new definitions of what we call culture.
Modern technology has provided ways for this new type of culture to form and grow within groups that have arisen. No longer do we have a large, monolithic culture that people adapt to – instead, culture adapts and splits to accommodate people. In a few short decades the Western World has gone from having three television channels to having hundreds, from small amounts of newspapers and magazines to billions of websites, to a remarkable surge in the production of independent and self-produced art, literature, and music. The times are defined by hyperlocal news and hyperlocal connections, to simultaneously create tightly-knit small communities that interact with each other.
Of course, this wouldn’t be possible without the massive network of cross-cultural partnerships that have laid the foundation for the way people interact with one another. It’s a tradition that has existed for as long as travel has – people traveling from city to city to share ideas and gain knowledge, then to pass them on to more people. The concept of universities, even in their nebulous Greek beginnings, sought to bring together knowledge from all over the world and utilize these cross-cultural partnerships to further to exploration of knowledge and truth. The world’s best scientific discoveries, the best works of art and brave discovery have all resulted from cultures interacting with one another to bring the best of both worlds together. These can be great concepts and amazing discoveries that impact the future, or small everyday things that affect our lives.
The first ice cream cone was created at the World’s Fair in 1904. Banner Creamery owner George Bang was selling ice cream, but ran out of bowls, so he borrowed some waffles from a nearby stand and rolled them up for ice cream. This simple, synergistic partnership created an entire new experience (even in something as ordinary as ice cream!) for the world. Scientific discoveries have thrived on sharing cultural knowledge, from sharing of medicine secrets since time immemorial to the international Manhattan Project to NASA to the creation of the modern Internet to the Large Hadron Collider – each of these brought together experts from varieties of fields from various cultures to create a new chapter in history. Mass immigration from India and Pakistan into post-World War 2 Britain transformed the nation, especially London, into a multicultural mecca with incredible new forms of food and music becoming fundamental parts of English culture.
With OurPangea, both the creation of cultures and their connection is easier than ever before. It is a way to experience these amazing cross-cultural partnerships firsthand, and to team up to create new ideas, new experiences, and new legacies for culture – created separately in the past and brought together in the present, for a brighter future.