Culture Code: Langauge

Culture_Code_LanguageCulture is a conglomeration of various factors and social frequencies that reflects a corporate community of individuals.  Language reflects something generally considered exclusive to the human race – having produced elaborate political and civil structures, and economic interactions.  Language has been called to basic fundamental unit of a culture.  From it, individual cultures’ characteristics can be ascertained – as can be seen with the Hieroglyphics extracted from the Rosetta stone.  Language represents more then just the literal words however – it also may contain contextual detail intended for the recipient.

An ancient Example

Take Koine Greek, for example.  While language obviously includes more then just the written form, the ancient Greeks exhibited then unprecedented detail to supplement their written knowledge with what has been identified as “parson code”.  This language is an exquisite example of culture on display in written form.  Without considering lingual phonology (we can’t hear the ancients actually talk today), we can articulate the grammar, morphology, and vocabulary they used.  While much can be said of the gender, case, and syntax; the vocabulary alone provided greater depth of meaning then in our modern era.  The Greeks had two common words for our one designation for “word”: “Logos” and “Rhema”.  Another would be “love”, of which at least four are commonly known.  Vocabulary carried often carried with it an emotional dimension not often found in our communication today.

Intelligences

It is often assumed that logical deductions, numerical analysis, and mental computation of information against mentally stored facts is the sole indicator of intelligence.  This is simply not true.  Harvard Gardner, in a 1991 paper, produced insight into seven different intelligences that people may possess.  These include: Visual-spatial, Bodily-kinesthetic, Musical, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Linguistic, and Logical-mathematical (nine are now known).  Being beings harnessing remarkably complex bodies, we have the capacity to develop a wondrous range of skills, abilities, and proficiencies.  Language is, in fact, one of the skills that may be developed, but people obviously may develop other areas.  The fact remains: language is the key to learning and developing.  Language permits sharing and expression.

The late Mayan culture made headlines years back for their calendar system, which was far different from our presently-used Gregorian calendar, following the Earth’s orbit of our sun.  The calendar made measurements of days, apparently accumulating to a climax, rather then allowing for future years not directly indicated in the system.

Religion and Mythology
One thing that has always fascinated me about cultures is the stories they tell.  They reach back to the dawn of civilization.  Not only are Deity pantheons worthy of noticing, but the preserved literature that surrounds them.  I remember first hearing of “The Epic of Gilgamesh” in a Western Civilization class, and being ripe with curiosity at the passion of cultures to preserve their legends and civil developments.  Obviously, The Judeo-Christian Bible (probably the most qualitative and quantitative, manuscript-wise) is another example, uniquely interesting, since the ancient language of Hebrew has been resurrected among Jews.  The stories preserved in these texts are the stories from the perspectives of people from within the culture.  Homer’s attempts and illustrating Greek history shrouded in more conspiracy and poetic art then anything else.  Yet even Homer brought a highlight of ancient Greek culture to later define the later cultures that absorbed it.  The Roman pantheon did little to change the Greek pantheon outside of the deities’ names.

Language has influential power.  It isn’t just written or spoken – it is a means of expression.  Body language is a surprising underecognised means of communication utilized in our present culture.  The technological advance of social media apps have produced a society that has the highest levels of government intently watching the digitalized quips and trivials feuds of coach potatoes.  It must also be acknowledged that historically, religion and mythology held a huge sway over the culture.  While technology may have quelled the abject fear of distant deities, technology has also begun to move towards taking the place of mythological and philosophical ideas.  Artificial Intelligence is an entity written in code.  In the end, language is a medium of communication and expression.  A data holder, not a soul bearer.

Static Law & Dynamic Relationship

Ridget Dynamic Law Relationships.pngWorking in the public transportation industry for the past few weeks, It has been very evident to me the bureaucratic boundaries required to improve safety and efficiency.  It is innately an externally-controlled system.  Pulling back from public transportation through, The very nature of law has historically always been for the purpose of protection, and service for those abiding by it.  At times, law can seem very trivial, restrictive, and even frustrating.  The reality though is encroaching laws are the result of relational boundaries that have been breached.  As soon as murders started happening, laws had to be set up to assess them.  As soon as telephones came into existence, with ever-increasing traffic, there was need to control traffic for the efficiency of the whole system.  As soon as airplanes began taking to the skies, there was need for Air Traffic control towers to instruct them.

Our culture is governed by laws that are for our good.  It is a proportional system that is based on a preventative diagnosis.  Laws need not be created to deal with problems that don’t exist.  We were designed first with an order of internal government to govern ourselves according to truth, and to appropriately interact with other people and things around us.  As individuals lose sight of that internal standard of judgment (morally objective truth from God), they begin to look to their own well-being (or the well-being of their tribal “in-group”).  As people focus more on abiding by the laws that benefit them directly, others feel the effect of laws that are indirectly discarded by a supposed irrelevance.  There is a great example here in the digital music industry.  Back in the 90’s, there was an explosion of music available on the internet with peer-to-peer sharing software like Kazaa, Napster, Morpheus, and Limewire.  People would put their music up for download and others would download it, with more seeds meant greater download speeds.  It was an awesome trend for music lovers, but what about the music creators?

Music fans now could go and get their favorite music for free rather than pay for the physical cds they wanted (and save a trip to music store simultaneously).  This led to laws restricting music sharing on the internet, not because the law always needed to be there, but because the economic freedom had been abused.  This kind of trend is specific to individual business’s, landlord-tenant agreements, or software licensing agreements.  Usually, legal agreements are prepared in order to prevent loss and protect those  products or services.  These agreements, or boundaries are the direct result of people failing maintain internal character-relevant boundaries.  Individuals begin to look to the external legal atmosphere (which is originated in the poor-interactions of individuals and objects in society).

It is was a sad day when our world saw the United States Government slowly began to become the world’s largest corporation, with it’s military maintaining bases as many bases on foreign soil as on domestic.  To maintain our way of life (which is sadly depreciating), we had to set specific boundaries, because the commonly understood ones had disappeared.

Just as in the Bible, laws were established to establish what was already boundaries to keep us safe, keep us healthy, and keep us morally conscience.  Laws were never meant to be explicitly defined.  It took people going against their design to necessitate articulation of what the boundaries were.  In an externally-governed world, relationship is merely defined on paper contractually.  But in an internally-governed world, relationships are intuitive, there is greater flexibility that is properly balanced against truth.  In this way, relationships between people and things are allowed to go much deeper into covenantal status, and trust is more often established.  People reach out much more when moral laws are more commonly known and followed.  From my standpoint, this was God’s intent when He created this universe – flexible, intuitively-growing structures that are focused ultimately on love of Creator, and subsequently His creation.  What has happened though, cannot be blamed on the Creator God.  Our present pain, tragedy, and turmoil are the result of our own decisions – and it has been our Creator God who has promised to walk with any who will let Him.  Our nature is dynamically relational rather than statically logistical.  We were meant for grand adventures, and instead we have settled for survival.

There is still opportunity to connect with people in this day in age, but the right procedure is not one that adheres to external laws, although they are hopefully not working against authentic, deep and rejuvenating relationship.  It is easily to shell-up and hold people at a distance, depending our federal or local restrictions or entitlements, but it is harder to open up and build an enduring relationship with someone that transcends are present cultural predicament.  My hope is people have lost the desire to still build those kinds of intimate relationships with their fellow man.  Those are the best memories I have had in my life – I would bet they have been yours too…