Life and Anthropology The heart of the nation is its culture and tradition. However, not everybody in a certain populationknows exactly what or where certain traditions originated from. Are the celebrations enough to commemorate past events? How are these being passed through from one generation to another? In a world filled with the most advanced technologies and innovations, are there still enough attention given to an event that happened centuries ago?
Life and Anthropology
Before a person, especially a student understands anthropology, he or she should fully understand the meaning and the characteristics that cultivate the whole idea of the concept. Anthropology studies the origin and behavior of man. The study does not have any restrictions with regards to the time period, location or specific features that man can be analyzed. Anthropology studies man from its beginnings to all the manifestations and discrepancies that brought it to its present stature (Dash 2004).
Major Characteristics of Culture
Culture is defined as “the integrated system of learned behavior patterns that are characteristics of the members of a society and that are not the result of biological inheritance” (Dash 2004). Several published texts have mentioned a number of cultural characteristics. Some of them are not agreeing on the exact number of the characteristics of culture. The number varies from 4 up to 6 or even more. These texts however agree on some of the characteristics.
First of it would be that culture is learned. When a person is born, he enters a place already filled with culture. There are cultures that can trace its origin from centuries ago. Since birth until the last day of a person’s life, he tends to seek and define the new world that he is now a part of. The world is a confusing place as it is filled with numerous sensations that may have or may not have meaning yet it is influencing lives. There are also various ways of learning culture. The most common way is through communication (Samovar et al, 2009).
Another characteristic is that the culture is shared. This even incorporates within its teachings the first characteristic. It is said that the key element of culture is that it should be shared by the people who belong to the same nation. This characteristic compliments the goal of the first which states that culture is learned. To communicate is to share and communicating is a form of teaching. When something is being taught, people learn what is being taught. These 2 characteristics go hand in hand in transmitting cultures from one generation to another (Samovar et al, 2009).
It has been stated that another characteristic of culture is that it is based on symbols. For culture to be transmitted, culture is packaged in a portable form which fits the traits of symbols. These symbols are being passed from generations to generations and therefore being shared by people. For a person to understand what these symbols signify, the culture is being taught and communicated. Thus, this characteristic is complementing the other characteristics that were previously stated (Samovar et al, 2009).
Culture is also said to be dynamic. Even if so many changes have happened in this world during the past centuries, culture have remained and adapted to all the changes. Changes have increased and have threatened numerous cultures, however culture still remains and it is the world still adapting to it (Samovar et al, 2009).
Race and Ethnicity
Race is said to be a bit difficult to be defined. The meaning of the word varies however several scientists consider the definition of the word as a “mere social construct (Kopstein, 1995).” Ethnicity on the other hand is defined as “a term for collective cultural identity” (Spencer, 2006).
Race is considered to defining a person more towards the physical traits. It is unlike ethnicity that tackles more on culture, beliefs and shared values. People are usually being judged by the color of their skin. Sometimes, narrow-mindedness is the hindrance of exploring beauties that a certain ethnicity has. Belonging to a different race does not make anybody greater or lesser than another. With such being said between the 2 terms, ethnicity is less derogatory compared to race which deals with how a person looks like.
It is accustomed when a man and a woman fell in love with each other. the union that will bind them for the rest of their lives is called marriage. According to Dash (2004), marriage creates a new social relationship and reciprocal rights. Though most couples that are united by marriage are bonded by love, there are also couples who are bonded by arrangements. There are 9 modes of marriages and one of these modes is pertained to as marriage by negotiation or arranged marriages.
Arranged marriages or marriages by negotiation are usually arranged by the relatives of the bride and the groom. It is the parents who usually arrange the union for their children. This mode of marriage is not an isolated case in just a particular culture. There are a number of societies who are practicing this mode of marriage for various reasons (Dash 2004). Just like marriages brought up by love, arranged marriages also have its advantage and disadvantages.
An advantage for love marriages is that before the union the couple had the time to get to know each other. The advantage on the other hand for fixed marriages leans more towards the financial security of the couple as they are being supported by families of both the bride and groom. Disadvantage on the other hand for love marriages is that there are tendencies of falling out of love. As this becomes a disadvantage for the latter, the advantage for fixed marriage is that as they get to know each other along the way, the affection that has been developed through the process has a tendency to have a marriage that will last longer.
Concept of Sustainability
As defined by Rogers et al (2008), the concept of sustainability explores the association between environmental quality, economic development and social equity. This concept further evolved to what the United Nations coined in 1987 as sustainable development. For a nation to sustain in a world that is changing consistently, it also needs to sustain not just its economic stature but also the environment condition in its area and also continuously improve the way of living of its people. Every nation needs to ensure that the advancements that the present generation is making will not put in jeopardy the lives of the future generation.
A nation needs to balance its economic resources and its natural resources. The environment is something that cannot be fixed overnight when damaged. When the environment is damaged or fully utilized by the present generation, what will happen to the future generations? How can they fully live when all that is left to them are artificial? This is the reason why there should be sustainable development in a nation.
External Sensory Stimulation
Sensory stimulation deals with the feelings and emotions of a person. There are instances that a person might have felt too much emotion in the past and unconsciously it is affecting that person in the present. External sensory stimulation deals more with the external factors that affects a person. Once a person is deprived of external sensory stimulation or has been in isolation for too long, it can be said that a person has sensory deprivation (American Heritage, 2000. Pettinelli, 2011).
This can be related to those people who would rather be by themselves and not socialize even with their schoolmates. If people will not have any pressures from their surroundings, like their family, neighbors and/or friends, peer pressure will be lessened. People would want to communicate and interact with their surroundings rather than being in isolation. If this will just happen, the number of suicide cases might be lessened if not eliminated. Peer pressure and bullying are just some of the reasons why there are people who commit suicide.
If only this world will become less judgmental of other people, this world will be a lot better place to be living in. Those people who cannot see will be able to picture what it looks like if there would be people kind enough and describe to them what the world looks like, it will be just like they are truly seeing it. Same things for those people who have disabilities that makes them not able to experience and appreciate the world as it is. Being isolated from the external sensory stimulants will make living a dull and lengthy nightmare.
Living should not be a nightmare. There are so many beautiful things in life that needs to be shared. Life is the greatest gift that was given by the Creator. The world is already equipped with the most advance machineries and technologies, yet life is something yet to be fully explained and defined. Another thing that can be felt and people know exist however does not have a specific definition is love. These 2 words are so precious yet it is being taken for granted when being in isolation.
Perception affected by Sleep and Psychoactive Drugs
Perception is defined as the “process which involves the recognition and interpretation of stimuli which register to our senses (Rookes &amp. Willson, 2000).” Sleep can affect perception as it is only the body that sleeps and not the brain. However, when a person failed to sleep properly there is a tendency that the attention span and patience of that person is affected. When this happen, a person’s perception tends to not properly function well. Attention is very important with regards to perception.
Psychoactive drugs on the other hand affect perception as the drug attacks the brain by affecting the consciousness and other psychological processes. It is very important that a person has full consciousness and attention span for perception to take place. If a person is not in the proper mental and physical state, perception might be infringed by false emotions and recognition (Bernstein, 2011).
Classical and Operant Conditioning
Classical and Operant Conditioning can be related to every action in a person’s everyday life. An example would be when a person is studying. Classical conditioning usually occurs during grade school when the information that is needed to be transmitted is given and students tend to wait for it. However, when the student enters college the conditioning changes from classical to operant conditioning. In operant conditioning, instead of spoon-feeding the information, the student learns how to get the information by himself (Hill, 2001).
These learning conditions also occur during driving. Some information is being learned either by the books and others through experiences. However there are some actions that are learned purely by classical conditioning or via operant conditioning. Eating can be said to be learned via classical conditioning. Even when a person is just an infant, he is conditioned to open his mouth when he sees a feeding bottle or a spoon being held near his mouth.
Exercise on the other hand can be related to operant conditioning. Not all exercises are fit for every body type. Therefore when a person tries a particular exercise and feels that it does not suit his body type or a physical condition, he will stop doing it and tend to do an exercise that will be more beneficial to him.
Operant conditioning is knowledge acquired through trial and error. Experience is the best teacher for this type of conditioning. A person will not know what is wrong or what is right if he will not be able to fully comprehend how things have happened. This type of conditioning is how independent people learn. Sometimes, learning is better experienced rather than transmitted purely by words. Classical conditioning tends to spoon-feed information first before a person acquires certain knowledge. It makes a person dependent to teachers or books, which is not advisable in a fast paced way of living (Hardy &amp. Heyes, 1999).
Not all knowledge is written and learned by the books. As the saying goes, curiosity kills the cat. Though almost everything in this world have been explained in numerous books and journals, an aspect that is still yet to be fully explained is a person’s emotion and attitude towards different aspects of life. An emotion varies from person to person and cannot be stereotyped. Different people handle a particular emotion differently from another. Therefore, in this case, classical conditioning does not apply to this particular aspect. Operant conditioning on the other hand teaches a person that an act can cause severe emotions once performed.
Advices are given by people who have actually experienced an event that may have caused extreme pain, sorrow or success. Though it serves as a guide, it does not mean that a person needs to do the same and obtain the same result. Operant conditioning serves as a guide as to what is needed to be done compared to the classical conditioning that tells what should be done. A person should not purely depend on a particular conditioning by itself.
A well-rounded person should balance both conditioning as there is no particular area of knowledge purely based on just an aspect of learning. Before a particular theory or practice is published and disseminated, it has been experimented and used in real life. Therefore ideas being taught via classical conditioning has been tested using operant conditioning and vice versa. Knowledge is not purely acquiring what is written but also experiencing what is needed to be proven and learned.
Practice what is being preached. It is a line that had long been said and done. However it still proves to be true. The 2 types of conditioning are intertwined. Learning is both passive and active and not just one alone. A person cannot truly say that he has learned a particular lesson just by purely reading it. The question is that whether the material that was read is fully understood by the person who read it. The only way to know whether an idea is truthfully learned is by putting it to test. When a written material is successfully applied, that is when learning truly occurred.
Operant conditioning makes learning an active thing which is in contrast to classical conditioning. Different people react differently towards a particular conditioning. With that being stated, one method might be applicable to a particular person though it may not show the same effect towards another. The type of conditioning that is needed to be applied still varies and depends on how people will react to a certain method to be used.
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