What is culture? Is it in our clothes? Our food? Our movies? Or is it in our language? These were the questions that I found asking myself when this assignment was given to us. What exactly is culture? Is it even definable? I pondered over this question for a few days the came up with some explanations to curb my brain from glitching. I will try to convey those below.

I think culture is nothing and everything at the same time. It is a human concept after all. So in any case, “culture” wasn’t around until humans came. So in a way, culture is nothing really, just how we describe it. But then, this is a very escapist route to explaining this term, avoiding it. I think then culture is everything. Our food, our clothes and everything that makes us us. Who is us? The people residing in any area you would like to encircle on a world map.

I would also like to say that in a way, every individual has his/her own culture. His choice of clothing, habits, food, preferred art etc. All these define the culture he carries within himself. But this does somewhat differ from the definition of culture. Culture is regarded as a collective thing and not an individual. Sigh. There goes my line of thought.

We often talk about cities “breathing” or their “lifelines”or cities that “never sleep”. Why is that? It is simply because of the people residing there that makes it so. So a description of a city is very much a property of the humans living there, and hence the culture of that city. It is what the people do, what choices they make and why do they make them. The choices in the smaller things, like who do they meet, what do they agree with, what they don’t, what they eat, whom do they like. Populating a place with many humans leads to some sort of patterns forming that give us an idea of the culture of the place.

Thus my argument, although a bit hazy, is that culture is everything. The patterns in every little thing that begin to emerge when humans live collectively in a society in a certain place, is the culture of the place.

 

-Manas Sharma
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