CULTURE AND SOCIETY

CULTURE AND SOCIETY

The dictionary of Modern Sociology defines culture as “The total, generally organized way of life, including values, norms, institutions, and artifacts, that is passed on from generation to generation by learning alone". There are plenty of other definitions of the term culture and summarizing all of them let us suggest that culture is what constitutes the difference between a human being and a beast. Since the Human being is the only species whom God endowed with soul, mind and will he/she is the only one whom the term culture could be applied to. Nevertheless, other species like ants, rats and so on display capability to create certain material benefits and even successful efforts to create some likeness of a social infrastructure anyway they remain to be animals and insects impotent to create any cultural benefits.
The notion culture comprises music, literature, lifestyle, painting and sculpture, theater and film and similar things. Social anthropologists however suppose culture to embrace also the process and social relationships and practices related to producing of material benefits as well as cultural wealth. From that point of view culture, include art, science, as well as religious views.

Culture is often referred in practice to such activities as fine arts cultural music the so-called high culture i.e the culture of the high social groups to differentiate it from mass culture.
There are also the so-called sub-cultures of certain social, racial, religious professional and other groups within a community. Their beliefs, systems of values differ from the main large culture of which they are the parts. Such groups are distinct by their age, ethnicity, religion, occupation etc. During 1960s - 1970 s various youth subcultures such as hippie, punks sprung. There are also numerous criminal subcultures such as depicted in Mario Puzo’s novels. Because some of subcultures often set themselves against society they live within and display negative attitude to work they are often esteemed as “parasitic” and are referred to as countercultures.

One of the most important elements of culture is the human speech. It was not accidentally that some languages retained setting the compatriots against the strangers by means of a language spoken. The very word barbaric originates from a Greek word, which was for something like nowadays-English blah blah blah i.e. for inarticulate sounds not peculiar for a human. Slavonic people offer another eloquent example of importance of the human speech. The very word Slav stemmed from the word slovo, which is for the speech. From the other side Slavonic languages have retained the word Niemcy for Germans. Originally, that word was for the numb. Therefore, as we can see medieval Slavs set themselves against Germans as against barbarians impotent even to produce articulate speech.
Karl Marx is said to have said once that a man is such as many times as many languages he knows. Moreover, the bearded prophet of the Communism was not the first to have figured it out. Catholic Church still uses Latin in its practices. That language was long the official language in some European countries. Hungary had retained the Latin language as the official until 1867. Latin and ancient Greek is still studied in many prestigious schools due to their complicacy and due to the fact that these languages possess many rules, which could be but drilled. The very word Deutsch that is Germans name themselves appeared first in England, was put as Thiuda, and meant vulgar comparing to Latin as the vulgar to the scholar.
Since the Church began to yield its influence in temporal affairs the importance of the Latin has gradually declined. Nouveau riches were would rather have saved to save extra time for checking ledgers at the expense of learning extinct language. However, the age of Revival of learning caused the development of European literary languages. Germans, Englishmen and others began translating Bible and other sacred texts into their mother tongues so development of European literatures gained its impetus.
Unlike Europeans, Jews adhered to their ancient tradition and their language which had become extinct 1.5 thousand years B.C. That helped them to retain their authenticity however hampered its development. Theodor Herzl complained that it was possible to discus the highest matters in Hebrew during a whole day but anyone was impotent to book a ticket for a train in that language. The grate part of European Jews especially those in Eastern Europe lived in misery and ignorance being despised and mistreated by peoples among whom they lived. Theodor Herzl stood for making German the official language of the Jewish state to be created. He himself spoke German and celebrated Christmas. So did many of European especially German and Austrian educated Jews. At the beginning of the XX century, many of German Jews wanted to be assimilated and totally absorbed in German culture. Hitler wrote in his Mein Kampf that he himself had considered Jews as Germans belonged to another denomination. As we know that did not save them from the horrors of the Holocaust.
Titanic work of revival Hebrew as an up-to-date language initiated by founding fathers of Zionism helped a lot in creation of Jewish independent state securing that people from further calamities similar to those they survived in XX century.
At the beginning of the essay, we asserted that the culture is something that makes humans to be such. As we can see, the language is the factor, which allows a people to retain its culture and authenticity keeps it from being assimilated.