Nature, Nurture, Culture and Change – Fascinating Facets of Formation
Nature is a creative form of the complex phenomena in the physical world and things that keep intriguingly happening around us – the way sun rises, the way plants grows, the way air circulates, the way cloud forms and the way coalesce of clouds coverts into raindrops…the good ones. Also the way storm gathers momentum and results into a cyclone or a typhoon, the way volcano erupts, the molten lava flows out and the way earth crust vibrates and results in mild to massive earthquakes to the way ocean waves suddenly marches deep inside the land gulping everything that come its way in the landscape termed as Tsunami…not so good ones.
All are but natural we brand the bad ones to be the consequences of man’s forceful invasion of nature and forcing the nature to change its culture.
The fast and the fury.
The mist and the magic.
The sound and the silence.
The “Culture of Nature” is to cultivate this beautiful planet and connect the various natural bodies spread far and wide across the infinite space of cosmos. The more we delve deeper to understand the universe at large and seriously attempt to unify our scattered thought by asking the profound question of how on earth we get empowered by the cosmic power. The cosmic change that is constantly in action…
Now when we apply that word ‘Nature’ to human being we have our set of definitions and we can derive our own interpretations. Nature is a human trait that we acquire biologically from our parents and it is generally assumed it cannot be changed as it is genetically coded, hence we talk of ‘Nurture’, and the philosophical to physiological debate between the “Nature vs. Nurture” continues to tantalize us.
In in the study of Psychology it is the quintessential question of inherited vs. acquired. We are the thinking creatures and it is this ability to think that sets us creatively apart from the whole world of wonderful creatures created by nature. Human nature is attributed to genetics and heredity whereas human nurturing is about the environment we live.
And the grind we get in the grooming to get grounded and gradually develop as a well-rounded personality. It is his nature to talk aloud and talk more, it is her nature to talk less and speak in soft tone. It is his nature to argue for anything and everything, it is her nature to creatively engage and explore possibilities to obtain an amicable solution.
We also use the phrase “by its nature”, we refer to a particular characteristic. By its nature they are as a group are compassionate and empathetic with the problems faced by poor people in our society.
When we are deeply dwelling on the role of “Nature vs. Nurture”, we cannot keep the sibling away from the discourse i.e. the widely contested debate between “Nature vs. Culture” away from the battleground, the battle is on, this sounds similar with “nature vs. nurture” and there is rhythm and there is rime. The question that needs to be answered is nurture and culture the same thing and we are merely seeing through two different set of lens, how to see through the lens of culture and also how to see through the lens of nurture. It is important that to be a good photographer we need to know the mechanics of Photography so that we can work our way in different setup to take a perfect picture.
What is the significance of these two words “Nurture & Culture” in the context of human nature and the evolution of human civilization?
We are all born with a set of genetic instructions and we are then put to a set of conditions and churning in a controlled crucible to evolve and refine as a human being. The composition of our family and the configuration of our surrounding, the collective interaction of our internal nature with the external nature.
It is creative art of nurturing the cultural interplay…
The external nature is nothing but the composite behaviour of the people and community we stay and grow along. There are societies in that state of constant battle for survival. And the people living in these fractured fabrics of society are frantically trying to establish their distinct identities. The culture of the inhabitant of that place is different from the place where people’s identity has been fairly established and are living in peace and harmony. People in the troubled countries of West Asia to people living in Western countries of Europe. Each society has its own set of customs, traditions and culture, and these are what nurtures our nature and defines the way we cultivate our culture.
The culture gets cultivated in the society the way we seed our thoughts and how we nurture those thoughts for a greater good of the well-being of human beings residing in that society.
Curd is nothing but a cultivated form of milk, and milk gets the culture in the form of bacteria that converts the milk into curd through a process of fermentation. The culture has changed the character of the personality we call milk. The question then comes is curd better than milk, yes curd is better than milk as it has nutritional benefits beyond that of milk. The use of culture in a different context was to set an analogy that can simply contextualize the very concept of culture that is otherwise so complex to decipher.
In her seminal work Sherry Beth Ortner has extensively dwelled on this very topic and in the exact words of hers, the American cultural anthropologist she has dissected a very interesting proposition of “Is Female to Male as Nature is to Culture?”
This proposition sets a newer set of perspective to ponder upon. The gender role, encompassing a set of behaviour and beliefs generally considered acceptable or desirable for people based on their gender. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), gender roles are socially constructed behaviours and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women. This very aspect of gender expectation are different from society to society. In other words different from culture to culture, there may be many characteristics common across culture but expectation from gender are distinctly divided on the ground of how much these are biologically determined and socially constructed.
Culture is a product of broader aggregation and basic evolution of beliefs, behaviour, attitudes, values, custom, traditions, and norms and much more out of cross pollination that defines the identity of a group, a community or a society at large. On the larger landscape there are so many other elements that contributes to the construction of culture right from the language we use to the religion we follow, each play its definitive part in the formation of a type of culture that gets identified with a society.
Language governs the way we communicate and engage with different people and society.
Religion governs the way we practice a set of rituals and what type of customs we follow.
Culture is so much about the assumptions, presumptions and propositions that programmes our thinking and ways of working. These are primarily social construct that can be predominantly engineered to build a new building to house our changing stream of diverse thoughts. If we sum up all these broader thoughts and bigger ideas into few words then culture is nothing but a ‘way of life’, simply the way we live of life…
These cultural attributes are widely shared by the members of a particular group and are then transmitted from generation to generation and from one era to another, though some stay along but many completely changes with the changing time.
It is the very nature of the character of change that creates history.
The change is the fuel that fire the Cultural Revolution and dawning a new set of cultural values and norms for the society, and we soon adapt to those newly constructed forms of our society. We may continue to use the same camera but we keep changing the lens till the engine of the camera cannot accommodate the new range of lens, then the shift takes place to a new camera, and it is paradigm in nature, this shift has cultural implications in our society.
Let us take the case of an Indian kid vs. the American kid, we can see a set of distinct differences other than basic similarities is in their fundamental approach and attitude towards life, living, thinking and working. The moot questions remains. Is it is the nature or is it the nurturing or is it the culture they grow up. The better answer resides in the package of a product of blended recipe of nurturing and culturing. Though we cannot simply employ a complex formula to calculate the equations of life and living but we can use standard templates to arrive at a quick snapshot.
We see an American kid more outspoken and independent whereas an Indian kid is relatively reserved in nature and more dependent according to the culture. We see an American guy being more aggressive and adventurous that is how he is nurtured whereas an India guy may be comparatively docile and cautious in doing things in life. Now swap the kid from one part of the world to other part, and we have seen Indian kids speaking the English language with same tone and tenure, and we have seen the Indian guy working in USA grows to lead the global companies from the front. The approach and attitude of the same guy when cultivated in an American environment embraces the changes embedded in those very culture. The formation of new personality…
The deft ability to embrace the change and adapt to the tougher norms of a different society, all in a given period of time and is able to nurture his nature to cultivate a new culture.
The change once embraced are always empowering…
Each society has its own cuisines and flavours. The way people of a society are educated, get the much needed exposure and as they gain experiences, they then start to see different facets of that same society differently, and over a period of time those changes are so fascinating to observe and absorb. And what we perceive those things around us and promote, it is ll about the changing cultural trends. The change is intrinsically inevitable and the culture matters, as both the human and societal personality keeps changing.
We are all part of rapidly changing “Global Order”, though there is ostensible chaos hidden in the cocoons, there is a method in that madness. As the world gets digital, we are more virtually connected and literally live in a composite culture. There has been rapid cultivation of cultural artifacts constructing the edifices of a new world order. We are increasingly moving more place to place, we grow up at one place, we study at another place and we work in some other place, in turn we are crisscrossing between different continents, countries i.e. nothing but different cultures and there will be always that intriguing clash of thoughts between the nature we are nurtured and the culture we get cultivated.
The cultural change in society is inevitable and nurturing of nature is intrinsic to the nature of human evolution…the formation of fascinating facets of our ways of life and how we are constantly working our ways in living a much better and a more beautiful life.
Nihar R Pradhan
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