Chapter Nine: Language And Other Cultural Markers

I. Introduction

Chapter Two made the point that culture, meaning the set of behaviours and psychological attitudes that distinguish humans from each other is strongly influenced by a person's societal environment, and for the last 200 years that has meant a heavy influence from whatever nation state an individual inhabited.

It was suggested – what is obvious – that the process of globalization is tending to blur cultural differences, but that language, or rather languages in their variety slow that process since they are the bedrock of culture. However, as people increasingly feel themselves in a global context, rather than on a national stage, so will culture become global rather than national.

Chapter Two also introduced the idea that for most of human history culture has been a product – even to some extent perhaps a by-product – of the 'groupish' way of life that evolution dictated as the route towards species supremacy. The nation state was characterized as a pathological manifestation of groupishness. Even though it had its role in the development of the modern world, it has led to the destruction of the folkways, the group-based principles upon which people had based their cultures ever since they stood up and started to talk to each other. Chapter Two showed how many of the contributing facets of culture will be affected by the process of globalization in the next century, and how that process may result in a return to more 'groupish' ways of living as the nation state fades from its pole position in the consciousness of the individual.

In an attempt to understand and predict what may happen to human society in the 21st century and beyond, it is instructive to examine the features of society that inculcate and form (inform) culture in individuals.

A list of the more important of these might run as follows:


Parenting and Education


Newspapers, television and the movies

The Internet

The arts