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TRANSCULTURAL FRIENDSHIP: OUR POLITICAL FUTURE

Chapter Ten: The Systems Stage

Section 6: "Culture"

 

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Culture is the personality of society. Culture and personality express what is unique about an individual or society rather than what is common to all humans and societies. However, one cannot bypass culture to reach the essence of human nature any more than one could discover the essence of an onion by peeling away all the layers. Only by studying many cultures can one begin to discern the invariants that constitute the human core and the rules of transformation which make possible the varieties of society.

 

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The structural anthropologist/ Claude Levi-Strauss has devoted his efforts to the search for such invariants and rules of transformation. Levi-Strauss' investigation of human nature through its different cultural manifestations in some ways parallels, and in some ways complements, Piaget's investigations of different manifestations through stages of individual development. Levi-Strauss shares with Piaget a respect for the varieties of humanity and a concern for the complex relations between the knower and the known. His search for structure qualifies Levi-Strauss as a stage five "systems thinker." As might be expected, the works of Claude Levi-Strauss represent the most advanced (so far) level of the historical evolution of our understanding of "culture."

 

 

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The Evolution of Culture