Culture is a funny old concept. Everyone knows of it, everyone wants a bit of it, but what does it really mean and how can it help the world?
There are so many ways the word 'culture' can be interpreted.
From 'the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social groups,' to a 'taste in fine arts, humanities, and broad aspects of science,' or even down to growing some bugs on a petri dish.
But let us focus on the schmancy side of what culture is and I think anthropologist Sir E. B. Tylor states it perfectly;
" It is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society" (E.B Tylor 1871).
Put simply, if we were to take all of the experience and knowledge we've accumulated, over our lifetime and put it in a little case, we could each stick a little label on it and say it was our own 'culture.' Sure, we're a part of a larger culture (be it the culture of our country, industry or social circle), but on a personal level, the inside of each one of our cases is going to be different.
We have all lead our own lives and witnessed, engaged with and lead various adventures.
Be it through people we've met, places we've visited, challenges and triumphs we've navigated, we've each picked up our own insights along the way. Each of those insights and perspectives goes into that little case of ours labelled 'culture.'
That's all lovely and weirdly visual Hannah, but what's your point?
By choosing to expand upon your cultural experience and knowledge, you not only grow your own awareness, but you will inadvertently inspire and expand others to do the same.
If we keep with the 'case' analogy (hear me out), you wouldn't walk around with a suitcase full of the same old clothes and toiletries in it your whole life would you? I mean, clothes wear out, get holes or turmeric stains (hello golden latte), and your toiletries either run out or expire. The same can be thought of with our perspectives, our ideas and our beliefs as well.
I'm not saying to throw everything out your case and start from scratch, but, like when you go on a good trip, you make room in your suitcase to fit your souvenirs and dispose of things that you no longer need right?
So why not make space for souvenirs of experience, ideas, insight and perspectives in every day life?
What I'm really saying is to just think about engaging with the world with an open mind and heart. Stay true to yourself of course, but just don't be caught up in your own way of thinking and way of life. And by that, I'm not saying to adopt a whole new culture or join a cult.
Just have a bit more of a kinder heart and eye. You never know what you might learn, or how you might be inspired, or how you might teach or inspire another.
Culture for a cause.
It might seem like a bold statement, but it all begins with you. With a bit more understanding, acceptance and engagement with the world around you, there's a knock on effect as other people want to see that thing, try that thing or feel that way too. It doesn't have to be a big movement, it could be seeing a new exhibition, reading that book, watching that film, or *gasps* speaking to that interesting stranger you see at the coffee shop each morning.
Look, at the end of the day, just don't let all the potential in your world just become another magnet on the side of the fridge, covered in dust with an old shopping list on it that reads 'magnums and potatoes.'
Whatever it is, give it a go. Let your curiosity lead you to new cultures and cultural ideas. Let it inform your own creative and cultured self and watch it benefit those around you!
What's something new you can do to boost your #culturecase this week?
Sunshine and Ethiopian Love Cake,
(P.S. Love Cake is actually a thing. If you haven't before, go get some in your life ;) )