We follow different religions, societies and customs. The differences all lead to the question of why some cultures are better than others. Some cultures believe in family values such as a strong tradition of honor and family loyalty. These values make them think that they are to be respected. These cultures also put a lot of emphasis on education, which is seen as an essential part of a successful life. Many of these societies have very high standards for women and for men. Boys and girls are expected to be well behaved and to be well-disciplined.
In other cultures, however, the opposite is the case. Here, the emphasis is on hard work and earning money. Here, the cultural values are to look after the family and to be self-sufficient. Here, the emphasis is not on education but on material culture. A lot of the indigenous peoples in the Pacific Northwest have a very independent way of living, with little dependence on other countries.
Most of us live by cultural values. When we accept the norms of another culture, it’s called a culture. If we change those norms to fit in with ours, it’s called a change of culture. When two cultures mix and interact, it’s called a collision or a clash.
It’s easy to see how two different cultures with differing cultural values can lead to conflict. For example, some cultures say that the women are the weaker sex and should stay home to take care of the family. Other cultures look down on the men. When these two cultures clash, it may seem that there is no middle ground. Both sides will claim that they are practicing what is traditional. But if each has their own cultural values, who ends up taking responsibility for maintaining harmony?
This also plays out in society. Many people are confused about the difference between cultural values and religion. Both are important to maintain harmony, but not in the same way. While a religious culture places importance on ritual and faith, it does not place as much emphasis on the beliefs of individuals. By contrast, cultural values are based on adherence to rules, traditions, and beliefs.
Cultures differ on various aspects such as language, custom, and beliefs. Each has its own individual cultural values that vary according to location, time, and individual preferences. A city with a large Muslim population may insist on certain behavioral standards such as veils (a form of Islamic clothing), especially for women. A Christian culture would frown on such practices.
The Serious Clashes
A clash between two cultural values can lead to a major problem. The two sides must first agree on the desired cultural values before they can engage in negotiations. Differences in the actual application of the cultural values can lead to serious arguments that lead to an inability to remain cohesive or even negotiate at all. When this occurs, it is best to agree on common ground before making any type of compromise.
There are many examples of cultural values that separate the West from other cultures. The two most predominant values in most North American cultures are individual freedom and laissez faire (free market). Individual freedom means you are allowed to do whatever you want in your own life, as long as that does not infringe upon others. Laissez faire, also known as economic freedom, means that you have the freedom to make your own decisions regarding money, property, and business without interference from other individuals or groups.
The Ultimate Value
The major difference between two different cultural values is that individual freedom is necessary for flourishing societies while laissez faire results in poverty and misery. In order to understand the two, it is important to look at how people in these two different societies behave at the law. For instance, it is unlawful to be a slave and a free African American would not have this right. However, if an African American owned several slaves, he could legally free his slaves every week in exchange for their labor. This is because African American culture believes slavery is wrong and, thus, it is against the cultural values of Africa.
On the other hand, the legal concept of slavery is completely different between the cultures. Within Africa, one could legally own another person as long as that person did not become a slave and was treated well. As previously mentioned, African American culture believes slavery is wrong but, the legal framework within America does not allow anyone to own another person based on their cultural values. If an African American owned another person in America, they would face many repercussions such as prison time and fines.
These cultural differences are important to take into consideration when coming up with a personality test. Although there are many exceptions, most personality tests will at least examine some of the basic cultural values. By knowing the cultural values of a specific country, you can gain insight into the way that people act and think. This allows you to predict if the answers you receive during a personality test will fit with the world view or if you are being given a true understanding of a person’s thought process.