Welcome to the new version of European Tribune. It's just a new layout, so everything should work as before - please report bugs here.

What culture are you from?

by Colman Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 12:09:31 PM EST

culture: n ... 2 the customs, civilisation, and achievements of a particular time or people (OED)


Display:
I'm an exile from academic mathematical physics.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 12:10:48 PM EST
I "am from" some kind of a geeky freak subculture.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 12:51:37 PM EST
The New Left techno-hippie subculture.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 12:53:49 PM EST
Strangely, everyone is talking about subcultures. I wonder why?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 12:54:41 PM EST
I always kind of wondered...is America a "culture"? I never felt like I had a "culture" I could relate to, growing up in white middle class Southern California, except subcultures, like being a surfer, a hippy, psychologist, etc.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 12:55:07 PM EST
"Surfing hippy psychologist" works.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 12:56:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is that a culture? It's  a list of sub-cultures, surely?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 12:57:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a topology. Arbitrary unions, and finite intersections of sub-cultures are sub-cultures.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 01:00:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That comment deserves a 4i.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 01:02:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you. Having identified myself, I will commence the geeking! (but what about the freaking...)
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 01:07:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But is it a complete cover of cultures? Can you decompose a culture into its constituent subcultures?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 01:05:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You can deconstruct a culture into its constituent subcultures by ignoring the interlinking - common, overarching - attributes, properties, and elements.
 

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 01:24:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What about sub-cultures that span cultures?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 01:25:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... who cause epistemological dysfunction in laboratory animals.

;-)

Cultural, thus sub-cultural, constructions are spawned in many different ways.  Take the Mathematical sub-culture.  It exists across many Cultures (per se) by giving the various participants a commonality and binding them with a communicatory medium, e.g, formulae.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 01:50:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i read this thread this morning, and it's been percolating in my subconscious all day...

travelling to other 'cultures', i was always struck more by how they were all based on doing their best to first survive their environments, then try to make that survival into a thing of grace.

underlying every culture that has existed (formality of occurring!), there is a substrate of potential relationship, because cultures are all built on the past, and the future is partly our to define, especially culturally, (and preferably politically too, but that's another yarn to spin).

i might not like kalahari bushman food, ot understand their language of clicking sounds, that remind me of dolphins, buti can relate through facial expression, laughter, gesticulation etc.

mime works like this.

so, culture as invisible superstrings of interlaced mycelium crisscrossing under the humus of daily interactions and interconnections, with the mushrooms of actual cultural emergence popping out quite unpredictably, vigorously and with great swiftness, dying often just as swiftly.

i guess this is leading back to memetics...

plenty breakaways, far fewer stayers...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 02:24:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you lose properties of the culture from the deconstruction (maybe more likely to be systemic features than elements), then ... ? Hmmm, I expect that Robert Rosen, if he was still around, would argue that you cannot deconstruct something that was not originally constructed.

Anyway, a car culture is still a culture, its just an impoverished one.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 10:44:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
lol, how nice to see the word 'compose' referring to culture, even if it is a compost-like analogy!

culture as compost, and/or composition...i loiks it!

someone whose culture i respect said once to me :

europeans' culture comes from north of the alps, it's civilisation from the south..

could be pithy-sounding bullshit, but it stuck in my head...

discuss...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 08:57:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I always kind of wondered...is America a "culture"? I never felt like I had a "culture" I could relate to, growing up in white middle class Southern California

Well, there's sort of a common idea of Culture -- music, food, art, traditions -- and then there's a broader definition of culture -- basically that the culture you're raised in defines your norms and attitutudes.  It's very difficult to know your own culture sometimes, especially in the isolated ones.  

You were raised in a part of So Cal that I was shocked to find out even existed the one and only time I visited there.  I was raised in a rather dubious part of Long Beach -- geographically not far.  Socially and economically, very different I'd imagine.

Yet, we probably have more culturally in common than we do different.  I'd wager good money we share these:

*A natural tendency to have a large "personal space" boundary -- larger than is required in most parts of Europe.  I believe most Americans have this, but maybe not on the east coast cities.  All the westerners, definitely.  It's one of the first things I've noticed travelling or meeting people from other countries -- they get too close!  It's actually never really bothered me, but says something that I've been aware of it.  I've seen several Americans get uneasy, taking it as a sign of aggression.

*Almost everyone we know from "home" learned how to swim at a very young age.

*We know how to pronounce Spanish words.

*We could probably happily talk for ages about traffic the way other cultures talk about the weather.  Where I currently live, I still try to engage people in discussion of the pros and cons of freeway vs. surface street from point A to B, but their eyes glaze over.

*Our default "normal" distance is 20 minutes.  By car.  Anything different is "close" and "far."  This is probably changing for you now you've moved, as it has for me, but I still slip back to it on visits.  I've also noticed that "20 minutes" is a very fluid notion in LA -- it means it could be done under optimal conditions.  It doesn't account for traffic.  We all know this, but it confuses tourists.

This is, of course, the tip of the iceberg and just what popped into my head.  

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 01:55:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Having just been back in SoCal...my uncle told me that "it is only 20 miles from Woodland Hills to LAX..." but 20 miles in rush hour can be 1.5-2 hurs driving!!! Yuck. THAT was why I left in 1970..crowds, traffic, air pollution, and very conservative politics (in Orange County, at least)...and yes, Balboa Island/Corona Del Mar/Laguna Beach is VERY different from Long Beach!

I totally agree about the space attribute of our SoCal culture...the beach and the ocean added to that sense of vastness too

Oh, and you forgot about Mexican food! mmm, burritos!!

And everyone had TVs too (yes?)

I'm sure there are many other SoCal cultural attributes....but it still is strange to call it "culture"...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 05:55:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're right -- the burrito especially!  I still crave a breakfast burrito every once and awhile.  I didn't mention the food, because then people would have maybe assumed I was talking about the real Mexican food and then further assumed I liked spicy, hot food.  It felt misleading without an explanation.  

But I love the "americanized" versions and make my own quite frequently.  And I really miss some of the more authentic food from LA -- the shredded beef tacos from the trucks, the homemade tamales that the women sell out of coolers, the coconut popsicles from the corner stores, and that rice-milk drink (I suddenly forget what it's called).   Every once in awhile, I get keenly homesick and miss those things more than I can say.  Oh, and the sugar skulls, of course.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 02:50:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm pretty certain that those subcultures sum up to "California."

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 04:58:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A somewhat mythical California.

The Central Valley and the Christian wackos in the desert in Riverside and San Bernardino county are also "California".

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 05:07:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
mythical? There is a reason I live in the bay area.

My comment was a bit of a snark. To me California is everything good and bad about the US multiplied by 100.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 06:16:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and they are just as mythically redneck...

modesto...shudder

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 10:25:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hemet, Lake Elsinore, Yucaipa, 29 Palms...

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 04:25:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, on the Nine Nations of North America argument, that's part of Mexamerica, while I grew up (and presently write in) in the Foundry.

Of course, only one of the Nine Nations sketched by Joel Garreau is contained entirely within the borders of the United States.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 10:50:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What culture are we from?  Or what are we inhabiting now?

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 01:22:37 PM EST
What culture do you consider yourself to be part of?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 01:24:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If DoDo can be apatriotic, can I be "acultural"? There are many cultures I move around in or am a product of, but to be a part of, to somehow belong to, or to have embraced ... I've never known a comfortable fit.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 01:32:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know. You can say you're acultural, but I'm not sure you can really be acultural.

What do you mean by "cultures I move around in"? Can you give some examples?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 01:37:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's more like a mosaic; fragments of various cultures, often contradictory.  

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 01:49:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Would the word not be loaded with too many other meanings, I'd say you have been looking for the word multicultural.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 02:32:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No I haven't been looking for the word multicultural (which is overused to the point of meaninglessness now); I don't feel a "part of" any particular culture, though I move from culture to culture and take things with me as I go.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 02:48:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What does "feeling I am from culture x" entail? Patriotism? I'm not sure.

I don't "feel" American either, but I am absolutely 100% American beef. I once had conceits that I was some sort of cultureless ideal of the sort that American liberals often wish they were. This was proven to be devastatingly naive and comically false by two specific events that occurred about five years ago.

One, I fell for a girl that looked and sounded American but was culturally Arab. She had American parents, grew up in Kuwait, and moved to the US to go to college (one of those people who can honestly claim to be borderless and feel like they don't really fit in in any country). Getting to know her intimately (and I mean personally, not sexually) I began to notice subtle differences in how she behaved that, when I considered them, mapped to very large differences in how we see the world - mine was very much material based in comparison to her, both in the literal (consumerist) and philosophical sense. [as a side note, though, I'm increasingly convinced that women's fascination with shoes and shoe purchasing is biological and not cultural in origin.]

Two, shortly after the topic of point one flamed out, I was laid off from my job. The immediate effect was to realize how much of my identity was tied up in my job, which scared the hell out of me at the time because my belief was that I was beyond that kind of "superficial" identity, and in addition I didn't like the job that much as it was. I was unemployed for about three months and in that time I came to understand why. Part of it was that I clearly enjoyed the material benefits of my job, and the respect (primarily given in non-verbal ways) it earned me from others, often derived from my "material prowess." Closely related was the sense of superiority I garnered from my middle class status (particularly at my young age at the time not long out of school). Since this all operates non-verbally and subconsciously, it's largely unnoticeable until it has been (partially, at least) removed.

Not easy things for a liberal to consider. You can count up the multi-dimensional ironies on your own.

Events like the above don't occur when I'm traveling in Europe or interacting with Europeans. To me the differences feel slight. I'm sure if I were to, say, live in France for a few years and learn the language I'd feel a bit differently, but American culture is derived almost entirely from the Europeans that settled here and the cultures they brought with them. My feelings on that often lead to friction here and elsewhere particularly when I interact with people that don't understand their own relationship with their social class and how it creates them (perhaps not ironically some of the worst offenders are people who rail against class the most). It's also why I laugh a lot when I observe Americans and French (in particular) arguing with each other.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 06:09:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What does "feeling I am from culture x" entail? Patriotism? I'm not sure.

I don't know if it involves patriotism so much as identification.  For example, my mother and stepfamily were Catholic and I went to Catholic school, so Catholicism has certainly shaped my life and in some ways I am a product of it, but I would never identify as Catholic.  It is a part of my personal culture, but I do not fit into the culture of Catholicism.

Another example, I am sure I have many characteristics of someone who is a product of American culture (my fierce defense of freedom of speech and my faith that average people can change the world attest to it), but the typical markers of American culture: materialism, consumerism, entreprenurialism, pop culture etc. I don't identify with at all, and have even had Europeans incredulous when I've told them I am American.  I live in a world dominated by these things, so they must shape me, but I still feel like an alien when I go to a mall or turn on the TV, like, "who are these people?"  I've had more culture shock at home than I have ever had abroad.

Another: I've never been poor or rich, but like Izzy, I have always felt the most out of place around "normal Middle class" people.  Again, I feel like an alien.

I suppose I could say I belonged to some "Western" culture, as I certainly don't feel an identification with that of the "East,"  but the West is hardly homogenous.  To say that I and Paris Hilton and an Irish fisherman shared the same culture would really be stretching the definition...

I guess I could lay some claim to the intellectual/progressive/NPR listenning/socially responsible/organic foods eating/wonkish/urbanite bobo crowd.  I suppose that is my "culture" but even within that culture, I feel like I am standing on the sidelines observing rather than a poster child for that culture.  

I'm just a postmodern girl in a small world.  Cultures seem to be less and less like unique spheres of realities defined by time and place and participants and more and more like a voluminous repertoire of perspectives and experiences we can use to inform our individual realities or ignore depending on the situation.  

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 07:21:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another example, I am sure I have many characteristics of someone who is a product of American culture (my fierce defense of freedom of speech and my faith that average people can change the world attest to it), but the typical markers of American culture: materialism, consumerism, entrepreneurialism, pop culture etc. I don't identify with at all, and have even had Europeans incredulous when I've told them I am American.  I live in a world dominated by these things, so they must shape me, but I still feel like an alien when I go to a mall or turn on the TV, like, "who are these people?"  I've had more culture shock at home than I have ever had abroad.

I could have written something along these lines, my point (which I wasn't consciously considering when I wrote the parent comment) is that once certain life assumptions were stripped away, my perception of my own cultural identity was revealed to be somewhat different than reality. See also kcurie's quote from Levi-Strauss. You saying "I don't feel American" got me thinking about the degree to which you can think outside the bounds of the "black box" you grow up in.

I suppose I could say I belonged to some "Western" culture, as I certainly don't feel an identification with that of the "East,"  but the West is hardly homogeneous.  To say that I and Paris Hilton and an Irish fisherman shared the same culture would really be stretching the definition...

By kcurie's definition, maybe not.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 07:59:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
..to exist within a culture and not be a part of it?

I'm thinking mostly of myself, because a significant section of my life takes place in a godforsaken suburb inhabited mostly by readers of the Daily Mail.

I like to think I don't belong here.  But since I'm here for the schools I guess that's one thing my neighbours and I have in common.

by Sassafras on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 03:42:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So you're a foreigner. What culture are you an exile from?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 05:08:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Like poemless, I don't know if anywhere fits exactly.

But I feel most 'at home'(or least in bad faith), at work, as part of a team trying to give disadvantaged children a better start in life.

I haven't thought about it in these terms before, but my mother's parents were Labour activists, and my father's career had a strong element of social justice.

So that would seem to be the culture I'm coming from...

by Sassafras on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 06:07:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I float, I think. I think I've settled on being Welsh but in most places where self identity into a culture or group comes in, I sit just on the outside.

I've talked before about Deaf culture and how I don't fit in there - I'm deaf but not 'proper' culturally Deaf. Also other aspects of my identity such as sexuality, leave me on the outside; I'm not straight but I'm not 'proper' gay, so the gay community isn't quite right for me either. I'm not religious so I have no cultural identity from that aspect of life.

I come from a middle class background yet I would argue that I was deprived as a child, in a social sense if not financial, and had no security as I grew up.  It was a typical Daily Mail reading middle class, white suburban area that I spent most of my teenage years in, but I do not identify with that mindset or culture in any way at all.  I also spent 4 years on off homeless, which took away any superficial desire for material possession that typifies the middle classes and their drive for status and self worth based on what they have.  My own values around social justice, collectivism and as a union activist are a massive departure from my parent's values and my upbringing.

I fit in in Wales, it's my country as far as I am concerned.  I've spent all of my adult life here, I understand Welsh public policy, demographics, heritage and culture and I feel a connection to it all.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 07:05:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
..almost all here are completely and utterly western.... from different subcultures.. :)

Actually I have the privilege to have living grand ma who did not belong to western culture. A lot of our grandma and pa in Spain (maybe MIgerus too) lived in isolated towns in Central or Southern Spain.. antrhopologists from England and France came to take details.. and that was INDEED a different culture.

A lot of those people moved to spanish cities.. and the cultural shock was... well... it is lovely to hear how your grand ma explains you a cultural shock... something I have never lived...and something she does not quite understand from ani ntellectual point of view but actually she knows what it is better than I would ever know.

It is great how he uses even now a mixture of words.. or how she does not find words to describe things froma notehr culture/world/experience when at 16 she came to live to Barcelona , suddenly and utterly.

Cry, fear, paralization, lost sensation.. emptiness...and no words...The most important aspect of culture , I learnt from my family, is space distribution/structure , it is the most brutal form of narrative (cities, suburbs, ex-suburbs..) so actually the main differences among us would probably be between born in the city and born in a litlle town.. other than that.. purely subcultures..
an adaptation to thosebecause the basic narratives of western societies reached spanish town arund the 70-80s.

Regarding subculture I like the cosmopolitan left education-is-the-most important-thing for survival and status with a  strong touch of I-love-cities-hate-suburb-love-small-isolated-towns crowd...go figure...

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 01:29:42 PM EST
Can you define Western for me? Who is and isn't in it?

And surely you mean from overlapping subcultures rather than from different subcultures?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 01:34:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
last question.. yes.

The first question... it does not depend on location. It is everyone who was raised among the fundamental western myths. The most important I know (I may forget some).

-Self exists, you are different than others and object.. the goal is to "grow" yourself.. (narrative: become a person).

-Time/Progress. time si not circular. Vital concept of progress, improvement on the general status of the society (linked vital concepts: western medicine, science myths, knowledge...) I would say enlightenment ideas are also so strongly related to this narrative that I am tented to say that those raised in mega-church in US are a very strong modification in the Western catheogry, they coudl certainly split one day fromally.

-Family. Nuclear family structure, children sacred, old people not powerful nor with status because of the age. Marriage strongly linked with love.. social pressure to prevent marraige as a pure contract.

-Space distribution. Separation of three spaces. Private, publich and semi-public with very complex and strict guidelines (complexity of a build-up narrative on space).

-Sex. Sex is bad, only learning and control make sit good.. sex becomes good as you grow up. Sex, love and marriage are generally linked...social control and discussion on those issues.

-Technology/government...makes the division of insiders/outsiders. Economic system complex with strong thesis and antithesis about its variability, relevance (whole set of ideas an ddiscourses about economic elements.. class, bosses, rich, poor..).

-gift/potlach. Potlach completely removed from the economic realms, implemented on personal relation.

I am probalby forgetting one (or two?).. but I do not recall it....

And of course... then there are the universal myths and features which are transcultural.. and there are a lot of them.. but they make us human.. not western.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 01:48:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
of course... I was forgetting feelings.

-Feelings are internal. basic anrrative: feelings are the thing that make us human. Feelings arise from our more deep self. Feelings are no classified (as in most cultures with a rich variety of them) but lived.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 01:51:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was following you up until here ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 01:54:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ups... I am really bad at explaining myself.

In other words.. there seems to be some feelings or internal experiences that are universal.. on the other hadn other experiences are clearly not universals. feelings, name for feelings attitute and implementation of them ("feeling" and acting to the others) cahnge with time and place. So each culture nomrally has a different set of feelings.. although some of them are extremelly common. This is the reason for the huge discussions about where do feelings come from... basic brain need (some people say in the genes.. but I do not thnk it makes much sense...given that the brain is there..) or by learning...And of course, there may be some purely non-human (that all animals feel) and other related with the appearance of the word (narrative, culture).. It is and endless discussion.

But there is no discussion regarding that each culture has a basic narrative explaining them which basically fixes a playing field about how to deal with them, what to do and how to do it.

Some cultures classify it and link them with other imporant parts of life. Hindus have a whole structure and classification of feelings.. so when you feel that way you also think that way, sense that way, act that way. For example.. when you are angry I think Hindus consider that you get heavy. Properties, related with internal actions and with external actions. It is a wonderful topic.. if you can google it..Hindus-feelings-classification

Other cultures do not classify them and lack most of the western ones.. for example falling in love exists in 75 % of recorded cultures (it was actually reported and double-checked) and empathy seems to be universal.. but how you deal with them both.. how you act and when you act ..depends ont he culture.

I was pointing out that we have a very complex set of feelings, we give them a lot of relevance.. to the point that we consider that someone who has no feelings is no human. But at the same time we also hate the classification...the most we classify is the possitive and the negative ones.. and that's all.. and still some people oppose it...

Am I clearer.. or I am still awful at explaining my self... geee... afew... come to the rescue...please!!!

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 02:06:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Think I've got your meaning now.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 03:28:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's perfectly clear! When you said So each culture nomrally has a different set of feelings  I thought hmm, well you mean each culture has a different set of categories by which feelings are managed... understood, explained, welcomed, rejected, approved, disapproved, forbidden, promoted, confined to supposed coarse brutishness, or refined over a lifetime of practice. Which is what you then went on to say. All is clear.

The way feelings are managed varies of course in time too within the same cultural tradition. There's a strong school of historical thought (not even postmodern!) that says falling in love, for example, was not part of the European tradition until it emerged as a construct deriving from mediaeval courtly love literature and the troubadours. Certainly the way "falling in love" was constructed evolved, took on new cultural layers of meaning, even if you consider (as I do) that there's probably something basically animal and universal there.

Another example from our European past is the theory of humours, by which the the category of "humours" your body was ruled by, determined the subset of feelings you were mostly subject to (see your Hindu example where it's the feelings that determine the state of the body).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 03:31:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's perfectly clear!

I'm just a bit slow on these matters ....

I'm sure the history of romantic love would make a good topic for a series of diaries. (Did I read recently that it was imported from the Islamic world to some extent? It's not of European origin as far as I recall?)

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 03:36:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some people say... there was a Mozarabic Spanish influence on the troubadours, some deny this and say it was the Celtic matter (the Arthurian stories) that was circulating in Romance Southern Europe, that blossomed into the courtly love tradition. I've no idea who's right. It would be nice if it were a bit of the one and a touch of the other.

A history of romantic love would be good. But a long-term project...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 04:00:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a strong school of historical thought (not even postmodern!) that says falling in love, for example, was not part of the European tradition until it emerged as a construct deriving from mediaeval courtly love literature and the troubadours.

I've never understood this, because it's obvious from Greek and Roman literature that they had similar experiences. The only difference was that they were more openly bisexual and sometimes openly paedophiles too. But 'love' - in the sense of an overwhelming feeling attachment - certainly wasn't unknown to them.

The Troubador twist wasn't romantic love, but the sublimation of romantic love into pure narrative with little or no physical contact.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 05:18:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Love and strogn empathy was... but the idea of falling in love in the "Illness" sense of the word.. of behaving stupid.. doing things more ore less like crazy is indeed disputed.... and very heatedly disputed as far as I know.

The influence of translations to modern languages and all that...you know :)

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 05:38:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but the idea of falling in love in the "Illness" sense of the word..

Heh. As a matter of fact, I do remember reading an ancient text (most probably Greek) describing love in 'medical' terms, as an illness. I don't remember the author.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 06:09:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I did not know that.. but I am quite sure that there is a small group of people that deny any kind of fall in love ideal in greece and rome.. or that,at best, it is impossible to know the truth... but ei... pass the popcorn... I think it is perfectly possible.. falling in love as an "illness" is quite spread as a  human behavor.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 07:07:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
After a little search, I am pretty sure it was Galen, a Greek physician from the 2nd century AD. However, looking for an original quote on love, I only found a short passage here, but didn't found the longer passage where he lists all the symptoms and the 'chronic state' of the sickness.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 08:01:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Galen is the Greek physician par excellence, to the point that a rhetorical [but archaic] way to say "a doctor" in Spanish is "un galeno". He's like Aristotle or Ptolemy.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 08:43:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a bit here where Greek physicians are quoted:

Hippocrates (470 - 410 BC) thought of the intense love as "greediness" created in the heart, and the stronger the intensity of love, the more a person becomes anxious and worried.  The increased anxiety causes sleeplessness and the blood will "burn" and become dark.  The "dark blood" spoils the person's thoughts causing "mental deficiency", which may lead to "insanity or madness."  This madness might cause a person in love or love addict to kill himself.  Also, the person in love might get together with his loved one and then might die because of excitement and happiness.  "You could observe", he said, "that this love addict, when he hears the name of the person he loves, his blood escapes and his color changes."

Galen (129 - 210 A.D.) later said about those who are in love: "Concern or worry causes the death of the heart while their "sadness" is considered a "heart disease" in itself.  He considered "falling in love" as a state of passionate liking combined with greediness or possessiveness.  He stated that "falling in love" is created by the "alnafs", which is the Arabic word for what we now refer to as the psyche.  "Alnafs" was thought by Galen to dwell inside the brain, the heart and the liver.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 08:57:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Troubador twist wasn't romantic love, but the sublimation of romantic love into pure narrative with little or no physical contact.

Not the sublimation of romantic love, but the sublimation of sexual desire into chaste obsession (the symbol of the Rose, oh dear me...). It is argued that literary descriptions of romantic love evolved out of this, eventually influencing the consensus on love across society and finally actual behaviour.

But, in itself, the courtly love ethos referred back to previous myths. Like the heart being pierced by the arrow of Eros -- being smitten. To what extent was that narrative suggested by actual experience..?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 08:42:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
little or no physical contact.

the fetishisation of virginity being at least as old as Christianity...

But, troubadours or not, I have the impression that marriage remained largely a business transaction until at least the beginning of the last century?

by Sassafras on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 05:19:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of christianity's horror of sex, and a lot of it's misogyny, is tracable to the Pauline/Augustine horrors of around the 300 or 400s. In fact it doesn't really establish itself properly until the Celtic church loses power entirely in about the 900s - I forget the exact dates - and Rome imposes celibacy (hah!) in the 1000s-1400s or so. (Do the eastern churches share the fear and disgust or is it restricted to a don't-do-it-outside-marriage-enjoy-it-once-married type thing like in Islam?)
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 06:04:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see fear of sex as Western so much as Christian. Roman Christianity was (and to some extent still is) a kind of extended pathological interlude in the Western tradition - the bastard offspring of a patriarchal Abrahamic and tribal tradition crossed with various shades of Platonism, and given an added boost with a shift towards good old fashioned oligarchic imperialism hidden under a pseudo-spiritual sugar frosting.

If I wanted to play devil's advocate (hmmm...) I'd suggest that it's actually based more on a middle eastern world view.

That's not quite fair because Rome and Greece had a notoriously patriarchal strand. But there was also a more open strand in certain times and places that has been very influential politically and socially in the West, but remains almost totally absent from the Abrahamic mindset even today.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 06:52:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The fear of sex is distinct from patriarchy - neither Judaism or Islam seem to have the feeling that sex is dirty in the way that Christianity had/has. The view that sex is a necessary evil is unusual, to say the least!
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 02:47:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
neither Judaism or Islam seem to have the feeling that sex is dirty in the way that Christianity had/has.

Maybe not sex itself, but female sexuality. Remember the prescriptions for women having their period.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:41:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is that about female sexuality or blood?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:03:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All righteous human actions, including sexual relations within the bonds of marriage, are considered to be a form of worship of Allah.  There is evidence that the Prophet taught his followers that sexual relations between a husband and wife carried spiritual rewards-because sex sanctioned by law prevented the unlawful satisfaction of carnal desire.

fromThe Complete Idiot's Guide to the Koran by Shaykh Muhammad Sarwar and Brandon Toropov

So, by comparison to St Paul's rather grudging allowance of marital sex for those not strong enough to do without, a ringing endorsement.

by Sassafras on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 02:07:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It could be argued, obviously, that any society that tries to control sex by confining it to marriage is afraid of something.

But is it female sexuality per se, or an older, deeper fear of being biologically cheated?

by Sassafras on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 02:11:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of christianity's horror of sex, and a lot of it's misogyny, is tracable to the Pauline/Augustine horrors of around the 300 or 400s.

Some goes back two centuries further, to the gnostic schism, and the treatment of Mary Magdalene.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:40:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another question for the experts: accepting your outline, how many of those myths do you have to hold to be part of Western culture?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 03:41:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You must be the Mything Link ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 03:43:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That sort of talk isn't culturally acceptable around here, Mythter.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 03:45:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What a mythterious conversation.
by Sassafras on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 03:49:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If this went on all night it would be a big mythtake...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 03:50:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you promyth to stop?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 03:57:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No mythunderstandings?
by Sassafras on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 04:37:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you taking the myth?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 06:53:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i mythed kc!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 09:34:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
YOu cannot be a mything link if you do not believe in all them all. All them all.. actually.. it is not that you believe in them... they are just part of what you are (or actually you are htem and they are you)...even if you go somewhere else and manage to get in touch wiht others cosntitutive myths.. it will be very difficult to interiorize the new one and making it yourself...your brain is not that good at that when you grow old unles you train it...  then basically you grow and you learn and change yourself.. this is the great thing o being human and of or brain..we are incredible myth processor.

IN one sentence

Seven myths to rule you and one myth to rule them all.

A pleasure


I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 04:00:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How does culture change then? Or are those planks an unchanging basis for Western Culture?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 04:13:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
we play with them.. we change them.. each time we implement them and paly with others.

Soem antrhopologists that culture is the people palying wiht the rules more than the rules...

So it is some kind of feedback...

So, people change it.. how?? Whne??

Puff thi sis the core of anthropology. I think there must be as many school of thougs as anthropologists.

I persoanlly think it is very valid question where we could use the scientific narrative to get an answer.. although it is very difficult.

Having said taht, the fundational myths are very difficult to change.. and normally it means a huge change in the social structure/ social order...

Margaret Mead defended that even those monumental changes start with a very small group of people wanting to change things.....other antrhopologists and sociolists would be more materialistic...

A pleasure


I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 11:22:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
.. you call me expert I am going ot punch you in the nose je jejeje :)

I just repeat what a linked from others :)

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 04:02:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An expert is one who knows one more thing than you do.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 05:05:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
kcurie, I think that is probably as good a short synopsis of Western culture, at least as I understandit, as I have seen.  But you forgot the Greeks.  Any discussion of Western culture has have something about the Greeks in it.

We all bleed the same color.
by budr on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 06:32:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The culture I am from is the suburban unlimited mileage culture, informed in my case by the Kerouacian road narrative.

But the culture in which I am currently immersed is definitely Central European multiculti.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 01:57:15 PM EST
I'm from the dominant culture.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 02:35:28 PM EST
Like kcurie, I do admit deep embedment in a vaguely "Western" culture, though I don't see it as one with boundaries to 'other cultures' (maybe because I live more to the East). I would go even as far as speak about a Western European cultural embedment (which also means a predominant attachment to cultural imports from the West -- over the last 200 years -- in the locally existing culture where I live). BTW, kcurie mentioned the three spaces of culture, that's European: modern Americans (and I gather Australians) have mostly only two spaces.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 02:40:39 PM EST
Other than that, I am The Outsider. (Required reading: the thoughts about Aryan-ism in Salman Rushdie: The Ground Beneath Her Feet.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 02:43:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Other than that, I am The Outsider.

Which one, Camus's or Colin Wilson's?

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 02:50:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Neither: Rushdie's. (Tho', having read said book in translation, I am not sure what expression he used in English.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:43:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm a simple cybergypsy interested in all kinds of biodiversity, and implacably opposed, for that reason, to dominant cultures - in particular monocultures.

I'd like to say, like ATinNM, that I am New Left - but actually I am apolitical, atheist, amoral and ayupmeduck.

Evrything that ever happened to me appears to be an accident. I have tried to make plans and still do have large schemes running - but the only insight I can offer to the culture question, is that it is only the perception of planning that matters.

However much you plan, once you cross the threshold it all changes. So by simply crossing thresholds, you cut out the middleman of doubt.

I suppose it is a continuation of my hippy 60's past - "Go with the flow" ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 03:34:36 PM EST
Well, I'm definitely from the cultures you'd expect, some overlapping -- Western, American, Los Angeles.  I can't say I've ever felt alienated from Western culture overall even though I dislike aspects of it, but I have from the other two.  Having been raised by old Scottish women, there was a sense of cultural dislocation and well as generational all through my youth.  

I'd also add in some other influences.  I'd say "sub-cultures," but I think there's a corporate culture that isn't so "sub" -- fast food, cars and television spring to mind.  I don't think their influence on me can be minimized, although my upbringing was originally designed to block out the dominant culture at all costs.  I was sent to a very small private school and not allowed to listen to the radio, watch tv, or mix with other kids.  This was, of course, wildly unsuccessful.

Then there are the actual sub-cultures -- I'm familiar with religious fanatics and bikers, two cultures I detest, and then art and music --  cultures that I've sought out and embraced at various times.  

When I was young, because of my isolated upbring and the submersion in all things Scottish, I self-identified as being much more European than American.  This turned out to be a conceit of youth, which I discovered only after spending some weeks in England where I had my first (almost only) real burst of patriotism.

Still, I feel most comfortable around poor people and misfits in any culture.  I get along fine in wealthy circles and feel the most dislocation around middle-class, "normal" people.  I'm also comfortable and enjoy academic circles for some reason.  I give credit to my family for that last -- although I did very well in most of my schooling, it was my family who instilled a love of having really long, detailed, pointless arguments over obscure subjects.  So even without the proper background for it, I like it.  On the other hand, maybe academics fall firmly into the misfit category?

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 03:53:21 PM EST
"From" is the operative word here. I'm an exile from a culture that doesn't exist.

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.
by technopolitical on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 04:34:21 PM EST
"yet" or "anymore"?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 05:09:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I see that you're an optimist.

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.
by technopolitical on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 02:36:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not, but I know you are, that's why I ask.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 04:24:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh my! If you regard me as an optimist, you must be an extreme pessimist.

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.
by technopolitical on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 11:01:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...of course.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 05:10:16 PM EST
One or two here from the culture jar I suspect - the ET bacterium.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 05:53:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think my culture might be described something like:

Western->European->Celtic->Scots-Irish->American->Okie->humanist->universalist

My people, the fathers and grandfathers who form the cultural lineage of my family, are of the American branch of those we call the Scots-Irish.  People from Lowland Scotland who settled the Ulster Plantation in Northern Ireland at the invitation of a Protestant English king who wanted to supplant the Irish Catholics.  The Troubles began the day they arrived, and continue more or less to this day.  As I understand it, before they were Ulstermen, before they were Lowland Scots, they were the Celts who fought the Romans to a standstill in northern Britain and inspired Hadrian to build his wall.  They have been fighting somebody for as long as they have been an identifiable people.

A couple of English kings later, when the land deal in Northern Ireland had become a good deal more troublesome and a good deal less attractive, rumors of the promise of America attracted a substantial migration to the new colonies.  These transplanted Scots/Irish/Americans tended to settle not in the built up English enclaves along the coast, but to migrate to the western frontier of the colonies, where they were more than happy to fight the native peoples for land to settle on, and when necessary to fight the more Anglified gentry of the coasts whenever their independence was threatened.  When that first great wave of migration crested early in the eighteenth century, that frontier ran roughly along the Appalachian Mountains, where the Scots-Irish culture survives almost intact to this day.  As the American frontier pushed west these folks tended to move west with it.  They embody what we think of as the American pioneer spirit.  Some call it the American spirit of independence.  Up close it sometimes looks a lot more like pig-headed stubbornness.

I only learned most of this quite recently, from James Webb's book Born Fighting.  Until I read Webb's book, I had only the vaguest notions of where my family came from and how we got where we are.  Born Fighting was an enlightenment to me.  Lots of things about my family's story, which didn't make much sense to me before, now make perfect sense.  And some things about my country that didn't make all that much sense to me, now at least make some sense.  For good or ill, a deep stratum of that culture underlies much of what we think of as American culture.  To any European struggling to understand why Americans sometimes do such crazy shit, I highly recommmend Webb's book.  

Oh, and everything from Western to Okie is pretty much what I inherited.  The humanist and universalist bits I've acquired on my own.

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 06:08:41 PM EST
As I understand it, before they were Ulstermen, before they were Lowland Scots, they were the Celts who fought the Romans to a standstill in northern Britain and inspired Hadrian to build his wall.

Actually, the Picts who raided Roman Britain were later subdued by immigrants from, what an irony, Northern Ireland, they were the Scots. (I read of this before I was in Scotland, and when there, I insisted on visiting the seat of Dalriada, the very first Scottis kingdom, Castle Dunadd from the 6th century AD.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 06:19:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I figured that statement might draw some clarification from someone closer to the facts.  I don't know nearly as much about this subject as I would like to.  I've read a little about the Picts and Scots and the Gaels, though not nearly enough.  I have a sense of successive waves of conquering tribes, more or less, belonging to a more or less homogeneous people, part of the great prehistoric migration out of central Asia into what is now Europe and the British Isles.  I think of them in general as the Celts.  That may be an oversimplification.

Joseph Campbell, in The Masks of God, in I think the first volume, describes a great common cultural field that stretched right across the continent from roughly central Asia into what is now Europe and the islands in and around the North Sea.  That common cultural field existed more or less intact for millenia before the historic era.  I don't think Campbell calls them Celts, but I've always used that as a kind of shorthand term for those peoples who were indigenous to western Europe and the British Isles when the Romans, Johnny come latelies as it were, came along and started writing about them and giving them tribal names.  That's what I think of as the Celts.

About a year ago I submitted genetic material to the Genographic Project.  The project performed the most basic level of genetic testing and identified my haplogroup as being very common in northern and western Spain and throughout the British Isles.  Ah, I thought to myself, that would be the Celts.

Sorry to be so long in responding.  I tried to post this before work this morning and for some reason could not get back to the EuroTrib site.

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 05:45:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Joseph Campbell, in The Masks of God, in I think the first volume, describes a great common cultural field that stretched right across the continent from roughly central Asia into what is now Europe and the islands in and around the North Sea.  That common cultural field existed more or less intact for millenia before the historic era.

The hypothesised Indo-European migration (of which the Celts were a part)?


Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 06:06:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a gorgeous paper map that came in the information packet with my genographic kit.  It maps the genetic migration as the hypothesized first humans in eastern African spread out across the globe.  The migrations are mapped to the branchings of the major haplogroups.  It is both larger and more complicated than your map.

I have not been able to find that map on line.  I think it might be presented in animated form in a flash presentation on the Genographic Project website.  Viewing any kind of animation is painful if not impossible on my dialup at home, so I cannot check that just now.  I am a major map junkie, and the National Geographic folks feed my addiction with such paper maps.  Bear with me as I expose my dismal geographic skill -- go figure -- and I'll try to describe the map I have.

Beginning with a supposed first pair humans in eastern Africa, one major migration goes north across the Sinai, branching into multiple haplogroups as it goes.  One group goes north and then west across Asia Minor, terminating in what is now Greece.  Another goes a little further north and then west, terminating in what is now northern Italy.  Most of the branching groups go north and northeast.  One skirts the Indian Ocean, then turns southeast, terminating in Australia.  Another goes northeast up the east coast of Asia, across the land bridge, and terminates in the Pacific Northwest of North America.

What might be called the main branch goes further north, branching multiple times as it goes.  Most of the branches go east or northeast into Asia.  One branch goes northeast into what might be northern Iran where it branches multiple times again.  One branch goes north from there to maybe Kazakhstan, then splits into two main branches.  

Of those two main branches, one goes right up across eastern Asia, across the land bridge, and down through the Americas, terminating in what might now be southern Brazil or northern Argentina.  The other turns west and goes right across Europe and down into the Iberian Peninsula, terminating in the northwest corner of Spain.  This map doesn't show it, but it is my understanding that that migration continued into Britain and Ireland.  That is haplogroup M343, the one I belong to, and apparently share with most of the folks we think of as Europeans and Britons.  I think that haplogroup roughly corresponds to the cultural group that I have been referring generically as the Celts.

The whole thing as it happened from the first identified human haplogroup in eastern Africa to M343 arriving in Iberia spans about 50,000 years, so all of recorded history is just an afterword of sorts to the main story.  From the last major branch in central Asia to M343 is about 15,000 years, again much longer than any written history.

Geez I hope that makes some kind of sense.  And I do wish I could upload the map itself.  Like all National Geographic paper maps, it is a thing of beauty.

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 08:20:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Note though: such family trees should be handled with care. They are good enough for first-order approximation, and that probably only for one sex, or even only for certain chromosomes or sections of chromosomes (M343 is an Y-chromosome, thus male haplogroup). Reality included tremendous mixing not just in the last millennia or so, but all ages.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:20:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you for capturing that image.  And all you say is true.  Perhaps I take too much from what I see there.  

The significance that I take from that image, and the meaning I find in the existence of M343, is that every man on this planet who carries the M343 marker, myself included, shares a common ancestor, a great, great, many-times-great grandfather, who lived in northern Europe.  There just after the branching from M173, where M343 begins.  I suppose that would be northern Germany.  One individual, one man, acquired a mutation, probably insignificant in his life, which left an indelible and unmistakable marker on all his descendents, all of us who carry the M343 marker.  

That makes all of us family in some grand humanist sense.  And in spite of all the surface differences, some of them profound and significant, some less so, along with our common genetic inheritance there is a deep common cultural heritage that I think in the end is much more important than our differences.  And I think if we are to have a long term future as a species on this planet, it behooves us to learn and understand that.  That was the message of Joseph Campbell's work and I took it to heart.

I'm probably not expressing myself very well.   I don't mean any of that in some sentimental, greeting card sense.  I mean it in the very practical sense of learning how to share this finite planet with the other six or eight billion humans who inhabit it.

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 07:29:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Celts and their precursors were just one branch of the Indo-European radiation out of Central Asia. Most closely related (in fact I'd say not completely separable at start, see the different views about how to classify the Cimri, the strongest allies of the Teutons during their invasion of Republican Rome in the 2nd century BC) were Germans, who included the dreaded Angles and Saxons whom the historical Arthur had to fight off (if he existed). Also, the Celts and their precursors only got as far East as modern-day Turkey (remember the "Galateans" from the Bible) they were rather European (and rather Western European).

Recently, it has been hypothetised that the source of Celtic and pre-Celtic culture and migration was not Central Europe but the Iberian Peninsula, which would mean a much stronger link to the previous megalythic culture. However, I think the proper way to view successive migrations is not as people replacing each other, but the new arrivals predominantly taking only the place of the elite, and as they merge into one people, having a disproportionate influence over culture and language.

Indeed ancient texts describe Roman-era Celts as having a mostly blonde elite and a mostly brown-haired peasantry. So I think it may well be that Celts formed as Indo-European tribes took power over the people of the megalythic cultures and mixed with them, just as later the Anglo-Saxons took power over a Brit-Celtic population, and later the Normans over them.

Finally, some notes about the real Arthurian era (something I had a special interest in). When Roman rule withdrew from Britain, in the figfht against invaders, the Romanized Brit-Celts fell apart into fiefdoms centred on hill-forts very much like before Roman rule. These invaders included the Angles, Jutes and Saxons from what is now the shores of Germany and Denmark, the wild Picts from the North -- and the even wilder Scot pirates from Ireland, who not only raided their fellow pagan Celts in what is now Scotland, but also the least civilised part of Roman Britain, Wales.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:07:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm from a western culture, a 2nd generation atheist from originally catholic and calvinist families.

Twee geloven op één kussen, daar slaapt de duivel tussen.

The calvinist family was a family of teachers with a farm background and the catholic family a (lower) middle-class family from a small village. I grew up in a rural village - far away* from both families - which in the mean while has become something like an exurb city. Development all the time. That's one of the few things it shares with Berlin...

*Far away in Dutch terms means over 100 kilometres.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 06:28:06 PM EST
I am no doubt from, and am a cofounder of, a drink, smoke, bitch, and talk economics miniculture.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 05:25:42 AM EST
And now I identify myself as a San Francisco Californian...living in Switzerland...which definitely has a culure all its own (and very different from California...or America, for that matter). I don't feel I will ever be "Swiss", even though I reside in it...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 06:00:10 AM EST
that there appear to be so many 'displaced' ETers.

Can I venture that this cross-cultural experience is of the factors that ties us together?

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 08:48:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How many undisplaced people are there? Who really feels part of a culture? Does anyone really fit in?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 08:49:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We're just a bunch of misfits, who woulda thunk?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 08:54:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd say most of us are more tolerant of chaos, and that would make us less part of any particular culture, since culture also implies some kind of order/agreement/consensus/behavioural limitation

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 09:14:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quite a few of us have lived for long periods in more than one country, and as a result don't truly belong anywhere. We've internalised and actually enjoy being foreign.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 09:18:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have to admit to still feeling English inside, even though I have lived more than half my life in Finland.

While I work and communicate in Finnish, and to a certain passive extent in Swedish, my thought processes remain in English.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 10:51:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i feel that way too, and i've lived almost 2/3 my life outside rainy albion.

anyone know of the use of 'to english' as a verb?

what does 'body english' really mean?

i watch a lot of english and american tv, and have always been a voracious reader, so keep my english fresh and up-to-date.

i just love the linguistic bastard kinkiness of english, and adore puns and double meanings, black gallows humour, (league of gents!!!) and all the odd twisted archaic lanes of the language,

shakespeare staggers me still, he used verbiage like beethoven used notes...

where the continent produced better painters and composers, english's morphing into world language pleases me aesthetically no end.

italian may be prettier, but english has a deeper spell on my imagination, and i'm very grateful for its perverse beauty and orneriness.

it takes on so many splendidly comic guises, too, from john cleese's merciless parodies of cut-glass, to the sonorous, fruity english of nigerian diplomats, peters sellers indian-english, the multiple pronounciations in the u.s.a...

it changes into so many forms...

language as OS... facilitating multiple open source applications, or dialects.

my favourite patois is how black folks speak in louisiana, it's like warm honey in the belly....

what i love about understanding other languages, are the 'cracks' that exist between lingos, and trying to use those as a way to study regional psychologies, or myths.

words that migrate untranslatably into english reveal much about the english mentality, and vice-versa.

such a fascinating conversation over at ET these last days, i'm dead impressed by the intellectual acumen and stimulating banter.

what a wonderful way to learn...thanks to you all great bloggers, yay!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 02:08:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good Albionesque example.

 Where many Finns get grumpy when it's raining. I just LOVE the rain. Rainy days are my favourite. I love being inside with an excuse to 'löhö' or chill, I love driving or being driven in the rain (especially in a bus), and walking in the rainy forest if suitably garbed.

And when the sun comes out after a shower, and all the smells are fresh and colours deep, and the birds rejoice - then so do I ;-)

Snow is a different matter. It's when I get grumpy...

And as for scraping thick ice off the windscreen while still half asleep and late - yeeeech

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 02:46:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yeah i love rain too, but only because finally i found a climate that has the right amount of it!

i remember saint swithin's day, and the predictions that if it rained that day it would rain for 40 more in succession, and one year it didi!

i used to watch drops wending theit way down my window pane for hours, as a kid.

it was so magical how they joined up...

and the capricious way they'd slow down, then trickle faster...

then 16 years on the wet side of the big island of hawaii, rainbowland...

and one memorably soggy night camping amid the candlenut trees on the slopes of kauai's sleeping giant mountain, the world's wettest spot.

the hawaiians have 200 words for rain, iirc.

yup, rain has been a constant companion and ally much of my life.

monsoon in tamil nadu, i had no idea rain could fall like that!

when i moved to california, with its crisper temps, i immediately noticed how dry the air was, even in santa cruz by the ocean.

guitars ring better, and fingerboards aren't wet when you take the guitar out of its case, or furry even, if you've left it more than a couple of hours!

living on a northfacing hill, i really value dry air, and being a modest collector of instruments, humidity is very definitely NOT my friend.

so i actually prefer snow to rain...it's the surreal mantle of silence that i love the best, i think, and the strange 3d geometry of icicles and tree twigs girded with fairy lace...

but with global warming and water being a big issue in the future, i count every drop that does fall as a pure blessing!

perhaps the 'spin' in the ball terminology is similar to the spin in british politics....perhaps hypocrisy has flown to new depths on the wings of the english language...

ther is a disturbing grain of truth to that snark, or maybe, as always, it could be my image-in-nation.

orwell certainly gives me the impression he felt that way, but perhaps he didn't know any other languages, i dunno...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 04:10:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you ever move to somewhere more humid, you might check out these fantastic guitars.

http://www.flaxwood.fi/main.site?action=siteupdate/view&id=2&set_language=eng

I admit to a vested interest, having played matchmaker to the communications director and their ad agency, and in helping to define their strategy.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 04:20:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Snow is a different matter. It's when I get grumpy...

Has anybody ever suggested, just by the way, that you might possibly be living in the wrong country mood-wise ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 04:12:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Naah - grumpy is good. I have what might be called a North-Polar Disorder - 8 months of sweetness and light, two months of sullen darkness (november - december's equinox) and then 2 months of chilly optimism as I adjust to the cold and welcome the light. ;-)

I'm happy today because we are melting...

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 04:26:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That spin (in reference to ball throwing) is sometimes called english in USA.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 02:47:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The mother tongue.  The language we learn at our mother's knee, con la leche, I believe places an indelible stamp on who we are and how we think.  I understand the Sapir-Worf hypothesis has somewhat fallen out of favor in linguistic circles these days, but I take it as gospel.  I think the first language we learn as children, when the patterns of language-using synapses are first laid down in our brains, shape and color and define how we see the world, and ourselves in the world, in ways that are forever a part of us.  Learning other languages may expand and enrich, but never supplant, those original patterns.  I think the luckiest of all may be those children of bilingual or multilingual households.  I would love to see studies of the linguistic and cognitive abilities of such children.


We all bleed the same color.
by budr on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 06:19:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Learning other languages may expand and enrich, but never supplant, those original patterns.

Here I think I know counter-examples -- people who were children when emigrating to the USA, and for whom English clearly became the first language.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 01:55:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
While I work and communicate in Finnish, and to a certain passive extent in Swedish, my thought processes remain in English.

At what age have you moved to Finland? I ask because despite continued predominant exposure to my mother tongue, my thought processes are also in German and English. I noticed I'm switching in the middle of stream-of-consciousness sentences.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 01:54:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Same here. And I didn't even travel to an English-speaking country before I was 16.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 02:04:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i find it a bit early to think of ET as a culture, but perhaps i am behind the wave.

thanks kc, for coming back and making comments that are sometimes worth whole diaries!

son of an english wingnut, who admired  apartheid s. africa, and a neapolitan mother who traded in her artistic, romantic tendencies for the linear model, i am trying to integrate this fusion.

i am too cool to participate in many italian vibes, and too passionate to settle for the phlegmy complacency of the aspidistra-flying wimbledon-tory catholic reality (oops, myth!) my grandparents in england settled in and for.

my italian grandfather died in the loony bin, after 40 years during which his entire family but his wife colluded in pretending he was dead.

syphilis...nasty.

they had their pasta dactory in salerno requisitioed ny the nazis then bombed into powder by the allies, so had a very hard time economically, after being middle moneyed class before the war.

so i'm a minestrone, like many these days.

i'm interested in cultures of the future, when and where communication is the king thing......

aspecially para-verbal communication, as in music and touch/massage.

most of us here love our planet and care to try and leave it better than how we found it.

that is a culture of commitment, next to which all others must yield priority.

no reason not to mash away, as where cultures collide, you see the prettiest wave-forms, and all edges are permacultural powerlines...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 09:27:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I'm too late to really join in the more obscure discussions that have drifted on, but here's a slightly different view.

To quote Ian Dury;-
I'm from Essex
as if you couldn't tell
My given name was Micky, I come from Billericay
and I'm doing very well

I am from Essex, but I am not of Essex. I always felt like a stranger there, there is a truth in the stereotype of Essex attitudes that I did not share. When I went to university in Manchester I felt more at home there within a couple of months than I ever did back home.

But more than that, my principal culture is male. It is extraordinary the extent to which the genders co-exist in almost parallel universes. We are brought up with different expectations and behavioural patterns, we are encouraged, trained, en-cultured to be different sorts of people. That's over and above the actual differences in our nature and how hormones impact it.

I notice this now as I discover the extent to which I don't behave properly, I don't react as a woman should. I don't share certain assumptions, I don't have certain points of view. I wasn't brought up as a girl, I didn't imbibe those expectations, I wasn't trained for those behaviours and...well {shrug}

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 09:52:49 AM EST
You're hardly too late to participate ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 10:06:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is extraordinary the extent to which the genders co-exist in almost parallel universes. We are brought up with different expectations and behavioural patterns, we are encouraged, trained, en-cultured to be different sorts of people. That's over and above the actual differences in our nature and how hormones impact it.

Yes!  Truer words were never spoken, err, written.

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 06:32:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]