We will never fully transcend our cultural influences to have
an objective view. Everybody is trapped by their history, community, education, language, family upbringing and body. Our five (or 8 senses) take in everything around us. If this information were to be made readily available to us, we would be paralysed and blinded; swamped by data overload…

Instead, we filter and look for patterns and repetitions that allow shortcuts, shorthand and second-guessing. This is why optical illusions are so strong – we have been trained to bring the assumptions from our past learning to the present situation. The effect is shocking. Just how much of our experience of the world is a guess based on learnt patterns and particularly past pain.

We are brainwashed by early rules – Can you remember what your Mother told you never to do? We are heavily influenced by the kindness and charm of those with influence and proximity – What was your favourite subject at school? Now answer this. Does this correspond to your favourite subject? For many the answer will be YES. Something to think about.

Our peers have influenced us to an extraordinary extend using social approval – What we like, don’t like, our political views and even our life choices. Many of you will, in effect ending up marrying your “BLIND” date, i.e. it will have been programmed or arranged for you, by your buddies!

Society only functions because rules exist and they are subtly policed by…the members of that society. The chant of “the greater good” in the film Hot Fuzz is pretty near the mark.

Our language is a shorthand and its structures and forms also limit our permitted experience of the world – German speakers listen because they have to. The operator verb occurs on at the end of a long sentence. Some Asian scripts have pictorial characters making the readers into super-efficient visual clue spotters.

The result is that our cultural truths are held in the words and noises we use, the pictures we see and create and the way we move and hold our bodies (Non Verbal Communication.)

The (pre-programmed) pessimist will see this as a tragic joke of pretend freedoms and false individualism.

The (pre – programmed) optimist will see this as a liberating lesson in the meaninglessness of everything, that enables the possibility of infinite creation.

Something to think about (within the limits of your culture, of course.)


Matthew Hill

Leadership Trainer and Executive Coach


07813 760 711

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This entry was posted on Sunday, June 20th, 2010 at 7:29 pm and is filed under about cross-culture, cross-cultural communication, General . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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