Your entire life is spent living under one system or another whether you like it or not.
When I worked in the Middle East, I had to abide by their rules and regulations or face the consequences. For example; they drive on the right hand side of the road whilst I am used to driving on the left hand side of the road. It would be futile to drive on the left side of the road because their society had decided otherwise. If I did, I would either have an accident or land up in jail. I decided to abide by their rules although they were contrary to what I had been taught.
So who made the rules about which side of the road to drive on and why?
Culture has a huge role to play in the development of society in which we live. Many countries were established by natural borders such as mountain ranges, deserts and the sea. It was only when countries were conquered through battle that political or invisible borders were established. Usually the conquerors enforced new society standards, which were based upon their culture, on the vanquished.
This evidence can still be seen in Africa today from the colonial days when Europe divided up Africa. In South Africa there were two main contenders namely the British and the Dutch. The Dutch colonised the Cape and brought their government with them. The free citizens did not like what was happening and left for greener pastures. They met up with a lot of resistance from the local tribes with bloody battles marking their trek. The British took over the Cape and Natal which led to war.
Culture fighting culture.
In South Africa there are two distinct cultures that operate namely the white culture taken from the European model and the black culture based on the African model. They are two entirely different points of view in which people live. The one accepts certain norms as a standard whilst the others reject them outright.
A typical example of this is what white people consider to be good manners. If you speak to a person you should speak in a tone that is within earshot and not overly loud. In African culture you speak loudly because if you are speaking quietly to someone else then you are an informer or whispering secrets. In the late 70’s when anti government protests took place, many alleged informers were executed and a form of paranoia took hold. Thus you spoke loudly so that you were not perceived as bearing secrets or working for the government.
So which culture is right and how do you justify your answer?
Is culture pulling your strings?
Believe nothing merely because you have been told it. Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher. But whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be kind, conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings – that doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide.
Buddha (568-488 BC)