Re: the mind of culture: tops-down or bottoms-up?

Gerold Firl (
16 Jul 1996 19:50:10 GMT

In article <4s6v3o$>, (Dan Grossman) writes:

|> White believed that humans are puppets of culture. Man created culture
|> for survial;he hen lost control of his creation.

That certainly is a gross oversimplification, but it's easy to see how
such a mistake could be made. When we lived in bands of 25 people, each
individual could have a pretty significant impact on culture. Now that
western culture includes something on the order of one billion people,
the influence of each individual is generally pretty small. But "Man" is
still the maker of culture, even though culture makes the man.

|> There are examples of
|> Russia under the Czars and Communists seeking warm weather ports and
|> access to the Middle East.

Sure. Communists need shipping lanes too. People generally try to do
what is best for themselves. The russian revolution was much more
notable for the cultural continuity under czar and commissar than for
the changes.

|> Great men and women need the proper cultural stage for for their
|> performances. Darwin and Wallace both came up with the theory of natural
|> selection because the proper cultural knowledge was present.
|> Critics refer to free will:White asserted tha free will was a
|> concept of Western culture. Other cultures have the concept of Kismet.

People who believe that they have free will act as if they have free
will; those who believe in kismet obey the dictates of fate and act
according to the will of the gods. Man makes culture, culture makes the
man, repeat ad infinitum. Tops down, or bottoms up? - both, at the same
time, of course.

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf