Take Off Your Hat: You’re In The Presence of Culture

Why do we take off our hats when entering a building? There’s no reason for it; it’s something we do. It’s part of our culture. While it probably had meaning at some point in time, that meaning is now lost. But we do it anyway because culture is bigger than we are. In fact, culture is not only bigger than we are, it’s bigger than almost anything we can imagine. Culture is not just what we wear, what we eat, or what religion we believe in. Culture is a vast ocean that informs and directs our thoughts, perspectives, and views on how to approach the world and other people in it. According to MIT’s Ed Schein, culture is everywhere; it is such a pervasive part of our lives that we are not even aware of it. This gives rise to several questions: What is the value of culture? How is culture transmitted? And, of course, what is culture?
Why do we take off our hats when entering a building? There’s no reason for it; it’s something we do. It’s part of our culture. While it probably had meaning at some point in time, that meaning is now lost. But we do it anyway because culture is bigger than we are. In fact, culture is not only bigger than we are, it’s bigger than almost anything we can imagine. Culture is not just what we wear, what we eat, or what religion we believe in. Culture is a vast ocean that informs and directs our thoughts, perspectives, and views on how to approach the world and other people in it. According to MIT’s Ed Schein, culture is everywhere; it is such a pervasive part of our lives that we are not even aware of it. This gives rise to several questions: What is the value of culture? How is culture transmitted? And, of course, what is culture?
This article was originally published in the January/February 2010 Analog Science Fiction/Fact. You can read the rest by clicking here.

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