Where does culture come from? If we are unique individuals, what brings us together to a shared experience?
I admit that I am not much of a world traveler, so I have not had first-hand experiences with places and people much different than myself. The Technojungle has allowed me glimpses through various media, however, I still feel a great distance. What is it that I am missing? How is the Technojungle changing places and people of the world?
We are cultured, but not like cheese or yogurt. Human culture is how a group of people live, including their beliefs, values, morals and ethics. It seems to be what a group of people do that makes them unique. I see culture consisting of a variety of shared notable attitudes and characteristics that distinguish one group from another group of people. These attitudes and characteristics are expressed through their unique language, art, and various other activities. Many groups share some of the same characteristics. Have you thought much about what culture is? How do you define culture?
Culture emerges from the influences of government, education, family, and peer groups. When a group of people consider a particular practice, or set of practices, as common, typical, and acceptable, the practices become normalized as cultural norms which is usually shortened to norms. Any group of any size will have norms and some may be specific to that group.
It is obvious that culture is constantly changing. What do you see as causes of cultural changes? Aspects of various cultures can overlap and be shared. Some aspects can be quite different from even a close neighbouring society, or even within a society.
A Venn diagram is a common way to illustrate how aspects of things can overlap and be shared.
Someone once told me that belching after a meal in some cultures is considered acceptable and even a compliment. I actually look this one up and it turns out to be true in Turkey, India and Saudi Arabia. Other table manners can vary from culture to culture. This cultural practice may be changing as the world shrinks due to globalization—becoming more westernized—Technojunglized(?). In what ways have you seen cultures change, or even disappear, due to technological change and globalization?
How do you believe culture helps to define who we are as human beings? How is culture part of what makes us unique and individual, but also part of a group? While we do attempt to think individually, are we actually thinking more commonly within our group and culture? In other words, doesn’t the culture of our society, group or tribe tend to influence how we think? Is it possible to think outside of the norms of the cultures you belong to?
I have recently realized just how much the Technojungle influences and reinforces our beliefs, values, and perspectives—even faiths and religions. This is an important concept to consider as we safari through the Technojungle.
Technology is certainly one of the major causes of cultural change. How do you see technology helping to define aspects of our human culture and what it means to be human? Consider both positive and negative ways.
Images spread over television and magazines during the 1960s persuaded people to support the ‘Civil Rights Movement’ causing desegregation of black people and eventually giving them the right to vote. This is an example of what I want us to explore in this book and as we safari in the Technojungle.
The Civil Rights Movement example resulted in positive outcome, although there were plenty of negative outcomes along the way. In any endeavour, it is important to be able to weigh the positives and the negatives. Perhaps, in some cases, the ultimate result could end up being negative.
As the culture around you changes, do you also somehow automatically change, even if you resist at first? Do you eventually give-in? Do you just try to adapt? Do you take on different approaches to life? Do you try to organize how you want to live within the constructs and structure of your society and culture?
If you’re a world traveler, you will understand what it is like to go to a culture where everything is different. Language, beliefs and values, art, music, clothing can be different. Have you noticed any cultures using technologies in ways different from what you would expect?
What else can you think of that contributes to the creation of culture? Location and climate influences how people dress and how they make a living, for example. Environment, such as city or country, influences culture.
In what ways do you see your culture reflected in, and related to, the Technojungle? Can you think of some examples of how technology and the Technojungle create culture, or how culture can create technology and the Technojungle? Does the Technojungle exert a greater influence on culture than most people think?
Power in forms such as education, politics and economics creates sub-societies of upper class citizens with their own cultures. Access and lack of access to information and the Technojungle creates class and culture known as the digital divide.
The Technojungle can give corporations enormous power which can create a separation of those who are in control of money, information and power from those who do not have much money, information and less power. Can the reverse somehow also be true? Or was that notion a promise that has evaporated into the ether of the Technojungle resulting in even more power for corporations?
A great reflector of culture is music. Music and technology have been dancing for decades. We can look at recorded music to see some important aspects of this dance and how technological changes have influenced listening to music and influenced our culture.
Changing formats of music and distribution methods from stores to downloads to streaming from the Technojungle seems to be less about the music and more about the dehumanizing corporations making money. The MP3 has been easy to distribute, and that has meant that people could purchase more. But has music become less of a focused listening activity and more of a blended noise into the everyday din of the world and the Technojungle? Do you follow your own musical interests or simply listen to an algorithm curated playlist? Can artistic aspects and the quality of the music suffer along with the reproduction and the activity of listening? Why do you think some people have made a change back to the musical experiences of the past, such as with the LP record?
Music videos are the combination of music and a visual performance which cause the listener to actually pay attention to the performance as well as the music. With online video services, anyone can make a music video. This is the way I often listen to music.
When it comes to culture, groups and being human, we seem to have a deep need to feel a sense of belonging to groups and the culture they share. Do you seek to find the groups that suit you and what you find as a comfortable culture?
There are certain cultural aspects that we have been born with, and there are others that we adapt or adopt to help define who we are as individuals—our identity. Why do you think human beings have a great need for individuality and personal identity as well as group cultures? What cultural aspects of you were you born with and which ones have you acquired either consciously or unconsciously? In what ways is your identity shaped by culture around you?
Because we are born into a culture, that culture may be difficult to shed to become a different person. Some aspects of our identity can’t be changed, such as skin colour.
Do the online Technojungle worlds have their own cultures? Is there an overall online culture? How do online cultures change your offline culture? Do you believe people think about cultural change, or do people just get swept along?
Do the characteristics of culture apply in the online Technojungle world in similar ways as they do in the physical human world? How are they different? How does someone’s online culture change if they are from a different culture from your own? What aspects of online culture have you experienced? Users join groups and some of the groups seem to have a group culture that is shared. People want to fit in so they are likely to adopt or adapt to the group.
What cultural norms can you find within the online worlds you visit? For example, some groups want users to use their real name. In other groups, nicknames can be used. In some online Technojungle groups, it is possible to have an avatar to represent you. That can range from your picture to any other image you desire. You can sort of be whoever you want. Do you try to be the real you online, or do you change who you really are?
Throughout the online world, typing with the Caps Lock key on, creating text in all upper case, is considered shouting. Sending messages that are not wanted by the recipient is considered spam or spamming.
DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I AM SAYING? I AM SHOUTING!
In what ways are we building an online Technojungle world that imitates and is also, in many ways, culturally reflective of the real human world? How in other ways is it different, perhaps even much less human? The online world of the Technojungle does have its own culture. In fact, there are many cultures and some are shared, just as in the physical human world. Make sure you observe, experience, explore, discover and consider culture as you safari through the Technojungle.
Some people are said to be cultured if they have been well educated and well brought up. We need to be careful about elevating one group of people over another, even in the Technojungle. People share their experiences and create culture to relate to one another or to show they belong to a group. No group or culture is necessarily better than another, however, you may not agree with all of the practices of another group. It is important, however, that the cultural practices of a group do not harm or interfere with the life of another person. It is also important that the cultural practices of a group not be forced or mandatory. This can happen in the Technojungle and can be dehumanizing.
This brings us to an important question; can technology eliminate a culture, or does it only influence cultural practices?
It is clear that culture is a huge aspect of what makes us human. Do you think computers could advance enough with artificial intelligence to understand, or adopt, human culture, or even develop their own culture? Creating and cultivating culture is necessary for being better human beings and living in this world of technology—the Technojungle.
Our cultural practices can be very closely tied to technology and the Technojungle. Our culture may develop and use certain technologies and the Technojungle can shape and alter our culture. One cultural Technojungle phenomenon is recorded music.