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Is enculturation is a good thing or a bad thing in terms of individuality and freedom of expression?

I am a student in a grad school in New York City and recently came across the concept of Enculturation. Coming from India, a country that is rich in culture and has strictly defined 'rules' in society in terms of acceptable behavior and habits I was forced to question if enculturation has more positive or negative impact on a individual when it comes down to developing a sense of individuality and freedom to express opinions.


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  • Nov 1 2013: One of the often-used phrases in the book ACIM, "A Course in Miracles" is "because of what you are", "for I know what you are".
    It is a concept that not only parents need when growing/protecting a child, authorities, friends, etc need to know when identifying someone... but anyone that needs to interact with someone else. Whether traditionalist, or more modern (culture-morphing, slider, international, tech-user, rich/poor, familist, nationalist, body-type or looks, etc), the culture of everything is its own culture.
    The ability to know, recognize beyond one's own culture, understand, and practice is what cultural understanding is mostly about. It can go from wearing clothes (burka), eating stuff one's culture does not (i'm so tempted to say canibalism), to behaviours (kneeling, speaking in public with your eyes closed, wearing a knife, being mentally prepared to throw rocks or kill for a specific "social" rule).
    In the context of the definition: "Enculturation is the process by which people learn the requirements of their surrounding culture and acquire values and behaviours appropriate or necessary in that culture.[1] As part of this process, the influences that limit, direct, or shape the individual (whether deliberately or not) include parents, other adults, and peers. If successful, enculturation results in competence in the language, values and rituals of the culture.[1]" - source Wikipedia

    In the context of this definition, there is a sad difference between how people present to each-other or understand how to become or understand a culture. In an ideal, modern world, it should be something like "this is a legacy that needs to be known, to be handled. To know it, it takes time to study it, practice it, live it to understand. That also means focusing on it."
    Sadly, it sometimes it like: "this is what it is, this is what you are, get the world out of your head!"
    Focus is presented as forced limitation, or life-long-renunciation.
    • Nov 1 2013: This makes so much sense! Esp the difference between 'This is a legacy...' and 'This is what it is..'

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