We spent part of the day discussing the meaning of "culture". I gave you some ideas to ponder including the fact that throughout our history as homo erectus, homo habilis, etc. etc. up to our current form of homo sapiens, we have been a relatively week member of the natural world, meaning that there are many extremely powerful, fast, cunning and otherwise deadly creatures in our environment that could kill us easily. Also, we have always had to search for food sources and compete with other species.
Our big advantage out there in the dangerous world has been our brain, but our brain does not work in isolation. Collectively, the knowledge and strategies that we have used for countless millennia have, in fact, given us a distinct advantage over all of the other dangers that we have faced. This collective knowledge and those collective strategies have enabled us to out compete all other species and to flourish. This is what we now call "culture".
In a simple sense culture can be thought of as a mechanism to adapt in order to find food and remain safe in hostile environments.
Of course today when we think of culture we think of the complete set of learned human behaviour patterns which we know are different from place to place and country to country. This is what our second unit will study, Anthropology - the study of human cultures.
We started my lecture on Culture as well . . . it's posted in tomorrow's blog entry.