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Free Example of Culture Essay

The words of Eric Gill “To hell with culture, culture as a thing added like sauce to otherwise unpalatable stale fish” proclaim and support the idea of the dichotomy relation between philosophy and culture. Those who claim that they are trying to find the Truth, which is expressed in the art masterpieces, are lying. First of all, they are lying to themselves as this is the easiest way to say that things which were done were done for good though the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Culture can be considered as a part of philosophy. Philosophy, in its turn, starts when a person or better to say an individual starts to ask a simple question “Who am I?” Though, even among scientists, there are people who try to distinguish these two terms: culture and philosophy, when each of them is derivative from the other. Moreover, culture as well as philosophy supplements supportive concepts with different ideas.

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However, if to speak about the philosophical elements in the culture, people as a part of society very rarely are ready to make a stand. Culture has an ability to frame ideas when they need to be loose. So, we have a structure in everyday life. People are locked in the frames of age. As soon as we achieve appropriate age, we go to school and then hesitate between college and university. All this we call culture; if you are not into it, your “world view” wishes to be better.

According to p’Bitek, artist is the ruler. However, the connections between cultures can be traced to the Roman Empire or even earlier. Another interesting fact is that Greeks, which are considered to be the founders of the modern culture, have never had a word culture in their lexicon. Nevertheless, they were ready to defeat their views. In addition, they hardly conjectured the thought that a part of their heritage comes from Africa. If to take the initial meaning of the word “culture”, it differs a lot in these two cultures. African people have never associated culture with money and never had a separate commodity which was called so.

On the opposite side, Romans managed to turn culture into a thing. As a result, culture started being associated with something separate from the lives of people. There appeared the feeling of the lack of the context in the understanding of the concept “culture”. In the Western tradition, culture is associated with a thing which everyone can buy or sell. So, people prefer to spend time in theatres, museums, art galleries, and cafes supporting the buy-and-sell concept of the Western culture. Moreover, this process is very common if to speak about artists and their works which price is growing with the time.

Another interesting fact is that Western culture starting from the fifteenth century carries the stigma of aggressiveness. The way Europe colonized the world is far from being peaceful. Usually, the process of Europeanization was followed by rivers of blood and mountains of dead bodies mainly of the indigenous population, for example, Red Indians or Australian Blacks. Moreover, locals were mainly the workforce performing the hard labor. The colonizers, instead, took everything what could be considered as culture and vilified it to the level “item” according to the value of culture in Europe. It is historical fact that conquistadors looked for gold, from which local population did knick-knack.

If to speak about Africa, despite the fact that conquerors took everything that, according to their opinion, could have been valuable, they have left, according to p’Bitek, “huge, ugly Gothic houses, called churches, sprang up on hills, in forests and on the grasslands”. Thus conquerors invaded not only in the social life of the indigenous population, but also in the minds of the residents. The most popular tool for controlling someone’s mind was brainwashing and a strong belief that “those who belong to God in Christ through consecrated chastity will bear witness to God's liberating covenant with humanity”.

All these facts give the ground for thinking that Western culture’s aim was and is to create a well-organized and structured scheme in order to serve those who have more money and are, according to the established value rate, culture-oriented. It was and still is popular to have a family and as many children as family can have and support on the already arranged way of being. On the contrary, in his book, p’Bitek mentions: “Africans were lured to think that wifelessness, husbandlessness, childlessness, homelessness, were a virtue!” Then the question is whose culture is appropriate being human. If so, then the structured society suggests the slowly dying manifesto.

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The second easiest way to try to make people fit into the system is school. In Africa, schools were built for upbringing the young generation in the spirit of Christian values with christened education and western world view. Such innovations have dramatically changed the vision of the local population, who even in their thoughts could not assume that they had chance to do something beyond permission of the new teachers. In the sphere of education, there was and is the feeling that humanity has come from Europe. This concerns mainly medicine. Hardly someone asked himself why all doctors oath to Hippocrates, when it is obvious that knowledge was gathered from all over the world and often the best precipices come from Africa. 

On some stage, it seems that both America and Europe developed stolen cultural items of Africa. Jazz belongs to one of thus stolen elements. For not well-educated persons, jazz always will come from the United States of America as music for slaves about slavery. However, people forget that jazz’s base is the African rhythm. In addition, people used African names to name the estate. P’Bitek has a good example of this case: Uncle Remus.

Serious allegation was made by Director General of UNESCO Amadou Mahtar M'Bow whose main idea was that Africa is visible from “the southern United States to northern Brazil, across the Caribbean and on the Pacific seaboard”. However, this vision has no support in the local government as they were structured and taught to analyze in the frame of Western culture value. This collapse is well-seen after the end of the colonial regime. Moreover, the local government tried to catch the idea of controlling the culture and formed Ministry of Culture.  As compared to the European model, where Ministry is far away from the culture itself and often includes such spheres like tourism and development of the community, African Ministry has theatre and cultural centre. Nevertheless, during the visit of the so-called high-level tourists, the easiest way to represent the culture is to show dances and sing songs straight near the airplane. This seems to be a vanity fair of those who do not care and never will.

With such attitude, the understanding of the value of the talent and genius varies from being polite to the state of transparency. As a result, people have lost the feeling of culture and are often confused when they face something known because of the shape, but the meaning must be comprehended in a totally new way. However, everything that was touched by the culture in Africa became a pure advertisement of the western way of life. Traditional dances became a sort of dirty dance show. The only valuable visitor of the country is a tourist who brought money with him.

If to return to the first paragraph which starts with the words of Eric Gill “to hell with culture”, it becomes obvious that the saying has the ground for existence. The people now except the culture are far away from reality. However, this new reality was created centuries ago, and the fact that around the same time is needed to face a new change is killing. Moreover, it is hard to foresee if expected changes will be possible then.

In this case, it is important to keep in mind that time and obstacles define the route of the development. Gill has right to say that. Moreover, in this way, he compares culture to hell and vice versa. This idea helps to understand that it is hard to find balance where the inequality was the rule from the very beginning. In addition, he supports the idea that despite the fact that this is the hardest battle people can fight and maybe will be able to stay alive, the number of victims is grooving exponentially. As a result, culture development now defines the way nation will live tomorrow. On the one hand, culture provokes prosperity and development. On the other hand, p’Bitek poses the main question which can be read between the lines: being or existence?

In my opinion, we are not ready yet to say that we understand culture. Each try is a parody on already existing concepts. As we, people, are not able to say at a certain period of time that we do not understand the culture and claim our readiness to explore it, the best way is follow Grill’s words and enjoy the warm tongues of flame in the hell. In this way, I will know that there exact place and time is definite – forever.

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