“That’s their culture” or “this is how we do it here”. Culture is a conflict created in many debates. But many cultural conflicts can be avoided if we think about culture in a different way. In this article I will talk about the importance of traditions and how to resolve conflicts between people, which at worst may create fanaticism.
The key for me is to dissolve the concept of culture and turn it into something concrete and manageable. It is very common to say that “it is their culture” or “It is therefore my culture, so it is, and now I will not talk more with you.” In this way, the concept of culture used to close the dialog; “it is to feeding them-and-us thinking”.
The precious traditions and values
Culture consists of the values, norms and traditions, and we must all be aware that our values and traditions mean something to us. Take for example a couple, who move in together and then vehemently disagree about Christmas traditions – how the tree should be decorated, what to eat and so on. Well, it may well lead to divorce if you do not think the second Christmas in the right way.
Traditions can be perceived as values. An example is arranged marriages, a tradition in some societies and it has nothing to do with religion. Some people explain the arranged marriages as a value – it is important that girls become married early and with someone the family knows, because they must be protected – but it is not a value. It’s a tradition.
The culture is very important to everyone. Traditions are what we grew up with, and its part of our basic identity and belonging. As children we get our faith identity, our linguistic identity, our social identity and to some extent our political identity. We have founded our relationship with food, clothing and music.!
Identity and dialogue
it is during adolescence that we can really get a conflict between identity, values and cultures. It is here, identity crises and fanaticism takes hold, if the individual does not experience a sensible interaction between its acquired identities and the rest of the world it’s like the teenager trying his or her childhood values by entering into a dialogue with the public beyond the immediate family, friends, teachers, classmates and more distant family members.
When we start to engage ourselves in a dialogue with the outside world, our basic identities will automatically be into play. And they must come into play – but they should preferably not be at stake. In our dialogue with the outside world, we will often form our own weighting of our basic identities, thus ending up with our own ego.
But if the dialogue is characterized by the fact that the outside world does not recognize or even attacking one’s values, then we return to whatever we learned as a child, the little one’s simple values … I think that is an explanation of some conflicts and attacks started by fundamentalists.
When we walk in our violent defense of what we call our own culture, it’s rooted basically in fear of losing ourselves. I think this applies to a strong nationalism. And throughout the discussion we are currently experiencing the concept of democracy, which almost looks like a religion sometimes.
What matters is the case
“If we want to have a proper dialogue, we must dissolve the concept of culture and turn it
into something concrete that we can talk about. So, we need to keep our values out of the concrete problems. We can use a common example from universities, namely the concept of credibility. As a writer and lecturer I want to be perceived as a credible person and therefore I do it with great lengths to comply with my appointments and be on time. It’s fine, but it is a problem, if I transfer the value to other people’s actions. Let’s say that I have called two persons for an interview and they never appear. I will be annoyed and I say things which may be below my normal level, but as anyone else I have the right to breathe.
The conflict arises when we start using value-word on parental action and if I say to those people that it’s totally disrespectful that you are just staying away without calling me or you are not to be trusted – I’m suddenly attacking their values, and the tightness of the dialogue. If you attack other people’s values we create conflicts.
There is only one human race, only a single one. There are no more. We have a shared past and we are not the same, and is characterized by the abundance and diversity. Even among the simplest organisms, not two are exactly alike. There are not two people alike. We each have our own truth.