Cultural Values — страница 3

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internal logic systems differ from one individual to another within a culture, they differ more from one culture to another. The most dramatic difference in cultural variance in thinking lies between Western and Eastern cultures. The Western world has a logic system built upon Aristotelian prin­ciples, and it has evolved ways of thinking that embody these principles. . . . Eastern cultures, however, developed before and without the benefit of Ath­ens or Aristotle. As a consequence, their logic systems are sometimes called non-Aristotelian, and they can often lead to quite different sets of beliefs. VALUES Values bring affective force to beliefs. Some of these values are shared with others of our kind some are not. Thus, we all adhere to some of the beliefs and values generally

accepted within our cultures; we reject others. Values are related to what is seen to be good, proper, and positive, or the opposite. Values are learned and may be normative in nature. They change through time and are seldom shared in specifics by members of different generations, although certain themes will prevail. For example, the positive attributions placed upon competitiveness, individualism, action, and other general principles that pervade the belief and value orientation of members of the North American culture of the United States remain. They include the constitutionally guaranteed and socially valued "unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" in individualistic, action-oriented, and competitive ways. These values have endured their

expression varies from generation to generation. A cultural value system "represents what is expected or hoped for, required or forbidden." It is not a report of actual conduct but is the inductively based logically ordered set of criteria of evaluations by which conduct is judged and sanctions applied. THE VALUE / BELIEF PUZZLE Value and belief systems, with their supporting cultural postulates and world views, are complex and difficult to assess. They form an interlocking system, reflecting and reflective of cultural history and forces of change. They provide the bases for the assignment of cultural meaning and evaluation. Values are desired outcomes as well as norms for behavior; they are dreams as well as reality, They are embraced by some and not others in a

community; they may be the founda­tions for accepted modes of behavior, but are as frequently overridden as ob­served. They are also often the hidden force that sparks reactions and fuels denials. Unexamined assignment of these characteristics to all members of a group is an exercise in stereotyping. ATTRIBUTIONS AND EVALUATIONS Often values attributions and evaluations of the behaviors of "strangers" are based on the value and belief systems of the observers. Have you heard or made any of the following statements? Guilty or not? Americans are cold. Americans don't like their parents. Just look, they put their mothers and fathers in nursing homes. The Chinese are nosy. They're always asking such personal questions. Spaniards must hate animals. Look what they do to

bulls! Marriages don't last in the United States. Americans are very friendly. 1 met a nice couple on a tour and they asked me to visit them. Americans ask silly questions, they think we all live in tents and drink nothing but camel's milk! They ought to see our airport! Americans just pretend to be friendly; they really aren't. They say, "Drop by sometime" but when I did, they didn't seem very happy to see me. Of course, it was ten o'clock at night! How should such statements be received? With anger? With explanation? With understanding and anger? Should one just ignore such patent half-truths stereotypic judgments, and oversimplifications? Before indulging in any of the above actions, consider what can be learned from such statements. First, what do these statements

reveal? The speakers appear to be concerned about families, disturbed by statistics, apt to form opinions on limited data (friendliness), given to forming hasty and unwarranted generalizations (Spanish bullfighting), and angered by the ignorance of others. No one cultural group has a corner on such behavior. Second, we might be able to guess how certain speakers might feel about divorce, hospitality, or even animals. Third, the observations, while clearly not applicable to all members of the groups about which the comments were made, represent the speakers' perceptions. To many, Americans are seen as cold and uncaring. Because perceptions and native value and belief systems play such important roles in communication, it is important to recognize and deal with these