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Is it more better for people from a particular race or ethnicity or sex to follow the existing practices in their groups or explore new ways

Over time, by natural selection , and through the process of "survival of the fittest", people with a gene pool that best adapts to the local environment following practices that ensures their continued existence used to get established in a region.
Today, with the advent of TV, movies, and other media, and means of quick transportation of people (armies, workers, etc.), there is a mass exodus of gene pools, and cultures and practices from region to region.
Due to economic and military clout and superiority of some groups, many practices and cultures get corrupted, obliterated.
Social morals, and cultural, agricultural, medical practices which ensured survival of the local population for centuries get replaced by the practices of the invaders.
Countries have procedures to prevent introduction of alien plants and animals into their country fearing upsetting of the local ecological balance which sustains life in that region.
Should the same principle be followed when introducing alien genes and cultures into a country?
Some modern day examples of adverse results of such mixing and corruption are introduction of abaya in Europe, introduction of bikini culture in the Middle East, replacement of ayurveda medicines in India with medicines from multi-national pharmaceuticals, abolition of aboriginal practices which are today causing huge forest fires in Australia, introduction of the western ideology of "equality of the sexes" into the eastern and African cultures, causing increased incidences of divorces, single parent families, orphans, late marriages, late pregnancies, and all the related social problems in the affected areas.

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    Feb 10 2012: Alien genes? We're all the same species - homo sapiens. I think that you have to be careful how you phrase this discussion because the reality is that we are all the same branch of humanity - even though we don't act that way much of the time.

    While I certainly understand many of the points that you make, all cultures on this planet are part of an expression of the same homosapien mindset.
  • Feb 9 2012: I think your question breaks down to "Are we going to allow individuals to define and pursue their own vision of happiness, in spite of a certain amount of chaos that comes with it or is a hierarchical entity going to define happiness for an entire group and invoke sanctions against those who are seen as deviant at the cost of a substantial loss of personal freedom?"

    I can see how groups of individuals might band together to protect their shared vision which is in opposition to an established ideology and history is full of examples of people doing exactly that. Problems arise when that group tries to force everyone else to adopt their behavior.

    As for the social Darwinism, leaving aside for a moment a number of problems inherent in that point of view; adapting to a climate does not insure survival. It is the ability to adapt to changing climates which insures survival, because over-adaptation can lead to extinction just as surely as a failure to adapt.
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    Feb 11 2012: I think a lot of tradition and ritual are still practiced for many reasons; it helps explain why we do things the way we do (history), it provides a basis for the development of art (creativity), it allows us to share what we have in common (community), it provides opportunity to explore cultures/interact with others (fun). Maybe someday we can ALL celebrate the end of all war, the end of poverty, the beginning of life of other planets. Maybe we can someday blend the art, music, tradition into one shared culture. Not one that replaces all others but one that unties the best and newest into something new and different.
  • Feb 10 2012: it would be best for a species group or whatever to have a diversity of aproaches ranging from extreme traditionalism to extreme exploration and everything in between because the survival of a group or species depends on unknown variables so diversity is the key element which allows a species to thrive diversity and adaptability ..if something happened tomorow where those who stayed at homes safely died out and only the explorers survived something may also happen the day after that would require something of that safety and if the explorers could not also be diverse in themselves ie adaptable then they would not have time to reproduce. so diversity within a groupa nd within individuals as adaptability is key i think.
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    Feb 9 2012: My utmost respect for Sheikha Al Mayassa and her talk. While 'the process of "survival of the fittest"' sounds captivating and glorious, it is this "the West and the rest" type of thinking that has been pushing our species closer and closer towards a mass extinction. Let's see if we're living up to our wonderful image of an intelligent species by being able to see the world differently in this century than how we’ve been taught seeing it in the past few hundred years.
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    Feb 9 2012: I believe critical thinking and being at peace within without any pressure (self-imposed, personal biases or societal) is more important than the product of it, either continuing existing practices or evolving new ones.
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    Feb 18 2012: If we could start by agreeing on what is "'good", what enriches the human experience, that might help provide a basis for assessing what other cultures or societies do well and how they might be adapted to your local society to benefit people.

    We often can't agree on what is good or appropriate in terms of values and behaviours. I'm an optimist and believe eventually most societies will except their should be equal rights for women etc.

    Humans are somewhat tribal still. It's interesting to see how different societies and nations manage the increased information, technology and interaction.

    On an individual level we are concerned about our personal resources, power, influence and status. Those in power or cultural hierarchies often don't like change that might threaten the status quo. Religion is often a stumbling block to improvement - closing minds - stuck on supposed truths handed down by this or that god.

    I suggest the happiest societies will be the ones that take what is best in terms of what enriches the human experience, adapt it to their societies, keep or grow what is already good - while being aware we all have two sides - empathy and concern about others and selfishness in a competitive world, limited resources. Life is complex and we are imperfect animals.

    As an individual if you stick out too much in a particular society you risk consequences from social exclusion to imprisonment or death.
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    Feb 14 2012: The answer to your question... Yes. Follow your current culture and practices, while exploring others, so as to relate to as many people as you possibly can.
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    Feb 10 2012: Interesting as anyone could just flip some of those "adverse results" in order to nullify those arguments for those with a tendency to believe on the contrary. It would go like this: "The lack of more focused medical treatments in India, the spreading of women-detrimental habits and culture, the ongoing of spousal abuse, people marrying too early and having to sustain the effects of a bad choice, teenage pregnancy..."

    See what I did there? I took various things you may consider right and put them as a problem to the world, as you did the opposite.

    Now, what does it have with anything? Problems, real world-changing problems usually must be dissected from point of view. If we're talking about humanity, as Robin beautifully brought it "same species", we must not think in terms of life habits and tradition. What you may consider a problem could be the most awesome breakthrough to me. What you consider perfection, probably could mean the living hell to me.

    With that in mind, there's one thing that should be preserved: The right of choice, from bottom to top.

    I, as anyone else, should have respected my right to choose: choose where I'll live, what I'll eat, what my job will be, what will I wear, when to marry and more even to whom, when and how many kids I'll have and so on...

    Evolution for humanity is (as far as I can imagine it) a result of choices, the higher the evolution, the more freedom we could have since we would be pointed to a path of respectful, rational, global aware decisions.

    To answer your "should the same apply[...]?" No, never, as it hurts the fundamental right of choice. It hurts freedom of though, freedom of being, freedom of moving and it would hinder the capacity of seeing new and different things and thoughts.

    That is actually the recipe for dictatorships (with a good example in Cuba): Just take the culture protection to the limit and use it as a shield for not allowing people to see what is wrong with the place/community. This blinds people.
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    Feb 9 2012: I believe that we are experimenting new ways everyday of our lives. So to your question, I would say that there is no arm of trying new ways. Therefor, problem arises when one tries to impose on others their way and give no room to the feelings of the people they are forcing that way on.
    It takes us back to the mentality of the conqueror, that personage always thinks he is powerful, so he is right. That thinking is one that caused slavery to be a human practice for milleniums, that thinking is the base of slavery known from the fifteenth century, leading to colonisation, the various racial discriminations and tribalism we have experienced lately.
    New ways are to be explored and taught when they are found good to making lives better. Surely, it is never easy to succeed in new ways, but that's the way I believe one is called to tke when he wants to grow up both mentally and spiritually.
    I am part of a mixed couple, and God knows all the misunderstanding we've been through, but when I look at myself today, the little openness I show to people, my little respect for differences, I know it was worth it.
    Today, being an african, I relate to south america, my wife being brazilian, my kids being south american indian decents... that is a wealth that can never be traded in.