Culture is the system of beliefs, values, perceptions, and social relations that encodes the shared learning of a particular human group essential to individual survival and orderly social function. It serves as the interpretive lens through which the human brain processes the massive flow of data from our senses to distinguish the significant from the inconsequential, assign meaning, and shape our behavior: “This plant will kill you. That one is food.”
The cultural lens reflects both the individual learning of personal experience and the shared learning of the tribe, as communicated through its framing cultural stories. These stories, which the tribe’s storytellers traditionally passed from generation to generation, shape our collective identity and relationships. “This is who we are, what we value, and how we behave.” ….
The processes by which culture shapes our perceptions and behavior occur mostly at an unconscious level. It rarely occurs to us to ask whether the reality we perceive through the lens of the culture within which we grew up is the “true” reality. We just take for granted that it is.
which is the point that Doris Lessing, quoted by another absurdly smart person, makes with her observation from The Golden Notebook.
“Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: ‘You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.’”
But then, you can’t have sheep who talk back, can you? The whole situation would become uncontrollable…