Tag: United States

Setting Boundaries in Relationships

Vitré yesterday and today

Setting personal boundaries are like identifying the gates in our invisible fence lines which protects the precious heart and soul inside our bodies. Many people look at boundaries as walls, but rather when we establish healthy boundaries it provides a way to distinguish what we choose to let in and let out. They form flexible gates, not stationary walls It is important to learn about setting healthy boundaries so we can make decisions about what is and what isn’t permissible in all relationships.

Boundaries are valuable

All relationships work more harmoniously when the participants know what to expect and what is expected of them. Being kind, but firm when stating what you need from a relationship allows the other person to reciprocate. How other people act and think often has nothing to do with you, but rather with their own perceptions. You can only take care of yourself.

It doesn’t matter how elaborate the fencing and eloquent our statements are, if we don’t honor ourselves enough to draw the line and stick to it consistently. It is just as valuable to the other person that they learn how to be with you and what the guidelines are for the relationship.

Body Language and tone of voice

Verbal communication is the language of information and only 20 % is absorbed. Body language and tone of voice is the language of relationships and 80% is remembered. Make sure you appear confident and you speak with a neutral, calm and non-accusing tone when establishing your boundaries. Use “I” statements which reflect on how things affect you, rather than “you” statements which put people on the defensive.

4 Step model for setting boundaries

1. Calmly inform the other person by stating, “I feel uncomfortable and want to shut down when you yell at me.”

2. Request that they honor your boundary. “I ask that you talk to me without yelling.” Or ..For me to listen and hear what you are saying to me, I need to you speak to me in a calm voice without yelling.

3. Insist that they honor your boundary, again with a firm but kind voice, “I insist that when we are talking we talk in calm voices.”

4. Leave the situation. Now is not the time or place to continue communicating with someone who refuses to respect your boundaries. Leave the door open to talk later in a more respectful manner. Continue to maintain a calm but firm voice and say, “I will not continue this conversation in this way. I welcome an opportunity to talk with you without yelling or screaming at another time. Let me know if you decide to visit without raised voices.”

Don’t take it personally

You can not assume responsibility for other people’s feelings, agendas or methods of communication. You can only state how you desire to be treated in life. If there are old patterns, it may take some time to convince others that you are serious about sticking to your boundaries. Everyone has the right to be treated with respect and courtesy.

People you know may be surprised at first when you tell them they have crossed the line, but will respect you more in the end. Hopefully, they will model this communication style and it will make for more honest and open relationships for all.

© Judy H. Wright, Parent educator and Author

www.ArtichokePress.com

Setting Boundaries in Relationships

River Wharfe - Wharfedale

Setting personal boundaries are like identifying the gates in our invisible fence lines which protects the precious heart and soul inside our bodies. Many people look at boundaries as walls, but rather when we establish healthy boundaries it provides a way to distinguish what we choose to let in and let out. They form flexible gates, not stationary walls It is important to learn about setting healthy boundaries so we can make decisions about what is and what isn’t permissible in all relationships.

Boundaries are valuable

All relationships work more harmoniously when the participants know what to expect and what is expected of them. Being kind, but firm when stating what you need from a relationship allows the other person to reciprocate. How other people act and think often has nothing to do with you, but rather with their own perceptions. You can only take care of yourself.

It doesn’t matter how elaborate the fencing and eloquent our statements are, if we don’t honor ourselves enough to draw the line and stick to it consistently. It is just as valuable to the other person that they learn how to be with you and what the guidelines are for the relationship.

Body Language and tone of voice

Verbal communication is the language of information and only 20 % is absorbed. Body language and tone of voice is the language of relationships and 80% is remembered. Make sure you appear confident and you speak with a neutral, calm and non-accusing tone when establishing your boundaries. Use “I” statements which reflect on how things affect you, rather than “you” statements which put people on the defensive.

4 Step model for setting boundaries

1. Calmly inform the other person by stating, “I feel uncomfortable and want to shut down when you yell at me.”

2. Request that they honor your boundary. “I ask that you talk to me without yelling.” Or ..For me to listen and hear what you are saying to me, I need to you speak to me in a calm voice without yelling.

3. Insist that they honor your boundary, again with a firm but kind voice, “I insist that when we are talking we talk in calm voices.”

4. Leave the situation. Now is not the time or place to continue communicating with someone who refuses to respect your boundaries. Leave the door open to talk later in a more respectful manner. Continue to maintain a calm but firm voice and say, “I will not continue this conversation in this way. I welcome an opportunity to talk with you without yelling or screaming at another time. Let me know if you decide to visit without raised voices.”

Don’t take it personally

You can not assume responsibility for other people’s feelings, agendas or methods of communication. You can only state how you desire to be treated in life. If there are old patterns, it may take some time to convince others that you are serious about sticking to your boundaries. Everyone has the right to be treated with respect and courtesy.

People you know may be surprised at first when you tell them they have crossed the line, but will respect you more in the end. Hopefully, they will model this communication style and it will make for more honest and open relationships for all.

© Judy H. Wright, Parent educator and Author

www.ArtichokePress.com

The History of Hair Extensions

Akko old city harbour

Hair extensions might seem like a new invention but in reality hair additions have been around as far back as the Egyptian times when both men and women work wigs. Since then hair pieces have been in and out of fashion ever since.

In 1800 fake hair was frowned upon and women left their hair to be natural until the Romantic era was in full swing when women wore elaborate Apollo knots. Come the mid Victorian era and hair pieces were used a lot more extensively. Then strangely in the early 20th century Edwardian women wore false hair additions to create the pompadour hairstyle which looked like a woman was wearing a teapot on her head. How that became fashionable I don’t really know!

Around the 1920’s less hair was the big thing so hair pieces took a dive around that time and it wasn’t until the 1940s when long hair came back into fashion and women starting indulging again. Then in the 1960’s big hair was back with a vengeance. Coils were the in thing or the updo as better known to us were seen of many women, this was created by very extravagant human hair pieces. Wigs made from real or fake hair were commonly worn around this time too and carried on into the early 70’s. Come the 80’s and big hair was in but only natural hair. Famous singers wore wigs but that was about it.

In the 1990’s hair pieces or wigs became a lot more affordable to everyone, not just the rich and famous. The famous spice girl Victoria Beckham has been credited for the latest fashion of human hair extensions. When she first got together with her now husband David Beckham it was a time when public interest in the couple was at a all time high and they were both photographed all the time and would be found on the cover or most newspapers and magazines. With this sort of publicity everything about the couple was scrutinised. At that time pictures of Victoria were on the front of every paper or magazine with many different hair styles on view. Some days she had short hair, the next she had long and it was obviously these styles were created thanks to hair extensions. She even spoke about them and explained they were created with natural human hair which caused slight controversy as to where the hair came from.

Since then the trend has become much more widespread with lots of different people using them for different reasons. Teenagers looking for long hair have extensions as do older women trying to replace thinning hair. And many women use them just for special occasions. There are many different materials they are made from including a whole range of fake synthetics ones to gorgeous natural European hair.

Permanent hair extensions can cost a few hundred pounds for each application and they only last up to around 4 months. There are lots of different methods of attaching the hair some safer than others. With permanent hair extensions usually a small group of hair strands are collected which the hair is attached to. There are different types of adhesive including wax, glue, or heat all of which are not that great for your hair. When it comes to removing the extensions chemicals are needed and these can often leave hair damaged. Another option is to have the hair weaved on. It is known as ‘wafting’ and is a much safer option as no chemicals are needed.

The clip-on hair extensions come in a variety of different colours and lengths are the best option for non permanent hair pieces. They are very easy to use and as long as you get the right hair colour and texture of hair, no one will know your hair is fake. In fact I have sat next to a work colleague for months not realising that her long hair was in fact clip on hair pieces. It was only whilst getting ready for our Christmas works do that she pulled her hair off! I was shocked to say the least as her natural hair was just shoulder length and I had no idea.

Understanding Discourse Community And Its Importance

Δελφοί Ναός του Απόλλωνος Delfi Temble of Apollo

As an experienced conversationalist who has been wielding verbal words since toddlerhood, you easily move from one group of people to another adjusting your tone, your vocabulary, and your syntax accordingly. Often without thinking about it, you speak differently to your parents than you do to your teachers and differently from both groups when alone with your friends. You would not dream of using the same speech patterns in the locker room and the church sanctuary.

Most writers understand the concept of audience and why it is important to understand who their audience is when composing. Yet simply understanding the “who” of your audience is only the beginning for experienced writers. Effective writing, writing that works and delivers the intended message and effect, must fit within the discourse community it is destined to serve.

What is a discourse community? A discourse community is a group of people who “speak the same language” or in other words people who share an interest in certain topics, share a body of knowledge about those topics, and possess a common vocabulary for discussing those topics. Have you ever been around a group of people who shared a common passion that you knew nothing about? Perhaps it is a particular sport or activity, an artistic talent, or a job, but it is likely that without sharing that same passion you find it difficult to follow their conversation. That is because you are not a member of that discourse community. While they are speaking the same language as you — English — the context of the discourse community changes the way language is used as well as the content of that language.

You already belong to several discourse communities as a result of your family, ethnic, and religious background as well as your personal interests and activities. Students enter the larger discourse community of the instituion they attend as well as numerous smaller discourse communities within that institution including specific classrooms, clubs and organizations, and majors and programs.Workers enter the larger discourse community of their employer and depending on the size and focus of the institution may also enter smaller discourse communities within it as well. For example, in a hospital a nurse might belong to the discourse community of the hospital, the nursing staff, and the Emergency Department.

So why is it important for writers to consider discourse community?

Discourse is a conversation or more extended and more formal discussion of our ideas in either speech or writing. Discourse is important as this is how we communicate in the social world that we live and work in. The social groups we communicate within are called communities. A community is a group of people connected for a common goal or purpose. So then a discourse community is a social group that is involved in discourse.

When you participate in a discourse community you must understand what language is used, how language is used, what knowledge is generally possessed within the community, and what motivated and interests the community. Understanding discourse community extends beyond simply knowng your audience and purpose — it means understanding what words to use, how to frame those words into units (sentences, paragraphs, etc.), and what information is already possessed by community members.

Once you understand the concept of discourse community and begin to apply it to your writing you will immediately see a rise in the effectiveness of your writing. Then you can begin to make informed decisions about every aspect of your writing from the word choice, grammar, and sentence/paragraph construction to tone and level of formality.

Culture

Grasmere

In the present-day world there are few people who reject the phenomenon of globalization. The world is becoming more and more global in the sense that people of various cultures start to communicate more freely. Furthermore there are means to communicate thoughts and ideas across cultures such as television, the internet and so on. Even though it is so common to believe that knowledge, experience, science are capable of transcending all cultural differences, many people lessen the importance of those barriers and oftentimes disregard their existence.

All cultures have a set of beliefs that constitute the code of values and moral laws for that particular culture. In Asia for example people were exposed to certain social phenomena and consequently adopted certain beliefs that now determine their behavior as a separate culture. In other countries people share different beliefs and values due to a variety of factors. Religion is one of the most important factors that shape the society in terms of its cultural beliefs and traditions. Another important component is history that can tell us about the events of the past that might have had some influence on the further development of people in that particular country.

Cultural differences present a very interesting social phenomenon to study and understand. There are cultures that share very similar values and traditions and there are cultures that have very different beliefs. In the confines of this paper, I will focus my attention on the differences between Chinese and American cultures that in my opinion present very good examples for this study. There are myriad differences in all aspects of social activity and there are probably more differences than similarities in these two cultures.

To study a particular culture is virtually to study the people and their behavior from a sociological perspective. It is very important to construct a working definition of a culture. Culture is a set of social norms, traditions, beliefs and values shared by a large group of people . Individuals who belong to that group can be considered a culture. By the same token, they can be called a society because at this point there is not much difference between the two notions. A society is literally a group of people that share that particular set of beliefs, values and so on, whereas the word culture has slightly different connotations. A particular culture may as well be share by more than one nation whereas the word society is usually applicable to the nation that inhabits a particular country. There are slight differences between these two terms but most sociologists and anthropologists use them interchangeably.

In other words, a culture is a set of beliefs or a particular ideology that a society shares. It is very interesting to understand how people develop a culture because it seems to be a purely social phenomenon developed by a group of people and then spread among other individuals who somehow relate to that particular group.

As an example, communist countries have very different cultures. They vividly illustrate how a group of people can influence a culture. China was not always a communist country. Long before communists came to power the population of the country shared a different ideology. The communist government directly influenced the country’s culture by the means of propaganda, the education system, television etc. Subsequently, the next generation is going to absorb the culture modified by communism whereas the previous generation is not so likely to accept it. However, even though communists altered people’s views and beliefs they could not completely eradicate most of the traditions shared by the society (Henry Rosemont, 1981).

There are many numerous differences between human beings and animals. Even though humans as well as animals are very complex creatures that have very complicated biological and chemical processes going on in their bodies, humans are more complex creatures because there is a great deal of social interaction that implies relationships, mental processes, human behavior, etc. Social sciences are several related fields that basically study the interaction among human beings. This field is very broad because the social activities that human beings involve in are so numerous that it would be hard to expound all the phenomena that cannot be explained by natural sciences in one discipline.

The social sciences include anthropology, sociology, political science, economics, law, psychology, criminology and social psychology. All these sciences are very important because they make an attempt to explain why people act they way they do, why they interact with others, and why they form a global society. Actually these disciplines cover a lot more social issues that directly relate to the behavior of people. The difference between the social sciences and the natural sciences lies in the fact that the natural sciences like physics, mathematics, biology and chemistry study the processes and objects that can be physically measures in terms of weight, speed, or other measurements. Social sciences deal with more subtle social processes and phenomena that cannot be measured exactly but can only be pondered and theorized about (Encyclopedia Britannica).

Anthropology is a very diverse and broad discipline that primarily deals with questions like what people think, what they do, why they interact with each other, and how they evolved over the course of time . Mostly, anthropologists deal with very basic questions but it is the simplicity that gives way to more complex phenomena. This discipline also studies how people can adopt to various cultural environments and how the cultures were formed. Ultimately, the purpose of this science is to understand the human life. Anthropology contains three main components that are employed by scientists to unravel the mysteries of the human race. They are society, culture, and evolution. Society and culture are the terms that are often confused and used interchangeably.

The basic definition of society can be found in biology where a herd of horses for example is referred to as society. However, society in the anthropological sense is used in reference to humans who can form a society of several billions of people who share the same culture. Culture, on the other hand, is a set of rules, customs, traditions that people live in accordance with. A society that shares the same set of social rules can be called a culture. Therefore, there is very subtle difference between the two terms and most of the time they can be used interchangeably due to the great deal of similarity. There are several elements that constitute a culture.

First of all, people who form a culture speak the same language, and employ other means of communicating complex ideas such as art, literature, cinema, etc. Thus a culture can be passed from generation to generation. Evolution is a radically different approach and it aims at the evolution of human beings over time. There are numerous theories that try to examine the process of evolution but most of them are questionable. As a separate discipline anthropology consists of several fields that include cultural anthropology that studies the elements that constitute a culture and what role cultures play in the world today; linguistic anthropology that focuses on the role of the language in the society; archaeology that studies the ancient societies, the cultures of the past and the effect they have on the present-day world; and physical anthropology that focuses on the evolution of human beings in terms of biological and physiological aspects.

Physical anthropology is similar to archaeology in the sense that both study the evolution. However, physical anthropology focuses on the physical changes that presumably occurred in the human bodies over time whereas archaeology emphasizes the cultural aspects of evolution. As you can see, anthropology is a very broad field and it is closely related to some other social disciplines (Encyclopedia Britannica).

Another very important component that I believe influences the formation of a particular culture is mythology that relates to the people of that culture. Mythology is virtually a set of myths that originated in a culture and were spread around by people. Thereafter, this set of myths became traditions and cultural beliefs that are share by the people of that culture. A myth can be classified as a narrative or a tale that has been passed from one generation to another by word of mouth. This process of retelling keeps going up to the point when it is hard to distinguish between a tale and a true story.

Myths usually get accepted by the culture as a custom or a tradition and when this happens it is hard to tell a myth from reality. Most of the time, people involuntarily believe that the myths that happened to originate a long time ago constitute the foundation of their culture (E. Evans, 1983). Myths are universal, occurring in almost all cultures. They typically date from a time before the introduction of writing, when they were passed orally from one generation to the next. Myths deal with basic questions about the nature of the world and human experience, and because of their all-encompassing nature, myths can illuminate many aspects of a culture. Although it is difficult to draw rigid distinctions among various types of traditional tales, people who study mythology find it useful to categorize them.

The three most common types of tales are sagas, legends, and folktales. When a tale is based on a great historical (or supposedly historical) event, it is generally known as a saga. Despite a saga’s basis in very distant historical events, its dramatic structure and characters are the product of storytellers’ imaginations. A legend is a fictional story associated with a historical person or place. Legends often provide examples of the virtues of honored figures in the history of a group or nation. The traditional American story about young George Washington and the cherry tree–in which he could not lie about chopping it down–is best described as a legend, because George Washington is a historical figure but the story about the cherry tree is recognized today as fictional. Folktales, a third variety of traditional tale, are usually simple narratives of adventure built around elements of character and plot–for example, the young man who slays a monster and wins the hand of a princess. Folktales may contain a moral or observation about life, but their chief purpose is entertainment (E. Evans, 1983).

Myths may include features of sagas, legends, and folktales. What makes one of these tales a myth is its serious purpose and its importance to the culture. Experts usually define a myth as a story that has compelling drama and deals with basic elements and assumptions of a culture. Myths explain, for example, how the world began; how humans and animals came into being; how certain customs, gestures, or forms of human activity originated; and how the divine and human worlds interact. Many myths take place at a time before the world as human beings know it came into being. Because myth-making often involves gods, other supernatural beings, and processes beyond human understanding, some scholars have viewed it as a dimension of religion. However, many myths address topics that are not typically considered religious–for example, why features of the landscape take a certain shape (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2002, Deluxe Edition).

The key character of Chinese mythology is monkey. He is a god-hero who is the cornerstone of ancient China’s mythology (Henry Rosemont, 1981). Based on what is said in the legends, monkey was born from a stone egg that was created from a rock as old as time and included the essence of the Earth and Heaven. Monkey was endowed with a magical staff that could shrink or grow to any size. Also this hero had other magical abilities. For example there is a famous picture in Chinese mythology where the monkey creates an army out of his fur blowing it into the air.

Subsequently, this clever creature creates a monkey warrior out of every single hair. Monkey defied the supreme god of Chinese mythology, the Jade Emperor, with his own claim as high god. To appease the mischievous Monkey, the Jade Emperor proclaimed him King of Heaven, concealing the fact that he had only made him a heavenly stable keeper. Monkey discovered this deception and, enraged, returned to Earth to wreak havoc. The Jade Emperor entreated Buddha for help. Buddha dropped a mountain on Monkey, and Monkey remained beneath it for 500 years. On his journey from China to India to retrieve Buddhist scriptures, the monk Tripitaka unearthed Monkey, who became Tripitaka’s escort and disciple. With two other companions, Piggy and Sandy, both exofficials of the Heavenly Court reborn in monstrous bodies, Monkey accompanied the monk for 14 years, covering nine kingdoms and encountering numerous fantastic adventures. After presenting the scriptures Tripitaka had obtained in India to the Chinese emperor in the imperial capital of Chang-an, the four travelers were borne up to heaven. Monkey, with his irrepressible spirit and countless magic tricks, is generally regarded as a personification of the nature of genius (Encyclopedia Britannica).

Culture is basically the patterns of behavior and thinking that people living in social groups learn, create, and share. Culture distinguishes one human group from others. It also distinguishes humans from other animals. A people’s culture includes their beliefs, rules of behavior, language, rituals, art, technology, styles of dress, ways of producing and cooking food, religion, and political and economic systems (E. Evans, 1983). Culture is the most important concept in anthropology – the study of all aspects of human life, past and present. Anthropologists commonly use the term culture to refer to a society or group in which many or all people live and think in the same ways.

Likewise, any group of people who share a common culture–and in particular, common rules of behavior and a basic form of social organization–constitutes a society. Thus, the terms culture and society are somewhat interchangeable. However, while many animals live in societies, such as herds of elk or packs of wild dogs, only humans have culture. Culture developed together with the evolution of the human species, Homo sapiens, and is closely related to human biology. The ability of people to have culture comes in large part from their physical features: having big, complex brains; an upright posture; free hands that can grasp and manipulate small objects; and a vocal tract that can produce and articulate a wide range of sounds (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2002 Deluxe Edition). These distinctively human physical features began to develop in African ancestors of humans more than four million years ago.

The earliest physical evidence of culture is crude stone tools produced in East Africa over two million years ago. People have culture primarily because they can communicate with and understand symbols. Symbols allow people to develop complex thoughts and to exchange those thoughts with others. Language and other forms of symbolic communication, such as art, enable people to create, explain, and record new ideas and information. Symbols allow people to develop complex thoughts and exchange those thoughts with others (E. Evans, 1983). A symbol has either an indirect connection or no connection at all with the object, idea, feeling, or behavior to which it refers.

For instance, most people in the United States find some meaning in the combination of the colors red, white, and blue. But those colors themselves have nothing to do with, for instance, the land that people call the United States, the concept of patriotism, or the U.S. national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. To convey new ideas, people constantly invent new symbols, such as for mathematical formulas (E. Evans, 1983). In addition, people may use one symbol, such as a single word, to represent many different ideas, feelings, or values. Thus, symbols provide a flexible way for people to communicate even very complex thoughts with each other. For example, only through symbols can architects, engineers, and construction workers communicate the information necessary to construct a skyscraper or bridge. People have the capacity at birth to construct, understand, and communicate through symbols, primarily by using language.

Research has shown, for example, that infants have a basic structure of language–a sort of universal grammar–built into their minds. Infants are thus predisposed to learn the languages spoken by the people around them. Language provides a means to store, process, and communicate amounts of information that vastly exceed the capabilities of nonhuman animals. For instance, chimpanzees, the closest genetic relatives of humans, use a few dozen calls and a variety of gestures to communicate in the wild. People have taught some chimps to communicate using American Sign Language and picture-based languages, and some have developed vocabularies of a few hundred words. But an unabridged English dictionary might contain more than half-a-million vocabulary entries. Chimpanzees have also not clearly demonstrated the ability to use grammar, which is crucial for communicating complex thoughts. In addition, the human vocal tract, unlike that of chimpanzees and other animals, can create and articulate a wide enough variety of sounds to create millions of distinct words.

In fact, each human language uses only a fraction of the sounds humans can make. The human brain also contains areas dedicated to the production and interpretation of speech, which other animals lack. Thus, humans are predisposed in many ways to use symbolic communication. People are not born with culture; they have to learn it. For instance, people must learn to speak and understand a language and to abide by the rules of a society. In many societies, all people must learn to produce and prepare food and to construct shelters. In other societies, people must learn a skill to earn money, which they then use to provide for themselves. In all human societies, children learn culture from adults.

Anthropologists call this process enculturation, or cultural transmission. Enculturation is a long process. Just learning the intricacies of a human language, a major part of enculturation, takes many years. Families commonly protect and enculturate children in the households of their birth for 15 years or more (Encyclopedia Britannica). Only at this point can children leave and establish their own households. People also continue to learn throughout their lifetimes. Thus, most societies respect their elders, who have learned for an entire lifetime. Humans are not alone in their ability to learn behaviors, only in the amount and complexity of what they can learn.

For example, members of a group of chimpanzees may learn to use a unique source of food or to fashion some simple tools, behaviors that might distinguish them from other chimpanzee groups. But these unique ways of life are minor in comparison to the rich cultures that distinguish different human societies. Lacking speech, chimps are very limited in what they can learn, communicate to others, and pass on from generation to generation.

People living together in a society share culture. For example, almost all people living in the United States share the English language, dress in similar styles, eat many of the same foods, and celebrate many of the same holidays. All the people of a society collectively create and maintain culture. Societies preserve culture for much longer than the life of any one person. They preserve it in the form of knowledge, such as scientific discoveries; objects, such as works of art; and traditions, such as the observance of holidays.

As it was pointed out mythology plays a vital role in the development of a culture. The tales and sagas that originated in a particular culture are adopted as beliefs and traditions that in turn form a cultural foundation that people adhere to. It is not only traditions that constitute a cultural barrier that interferes with the mutual understanding among cultures. People in China were able to develop different traditions and customs partly because they inhabited a different geographical area and were not influenced by the American culture. There are things that can only be understood by people who live in a particular area. Furthermore when the representatives of a particular culture confront people from another culture there is a great deal of misunderstanding between them. Using the sociological terminology, it can be classified as a cultural clash. Such a cultural clash happens whenever people from two different cultures attempt to communicate an idea not taking into account the cultural differences that exist between them.

Bibliography

Chinese Language, Chinese Philosophy, and Truth. Journal of Asian Studies 44:3 (May 1985), pp. 491-519

Encyclopedia Britannica 2002 Deluxe Edition.

Edward Evans. Understanding and interpreting cultures. New York: Random House, 1983.

Henry Rosemont. Studies in Classical Chinese Thought. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1981.

Lisa A. Raphals. Sharing the Light : Representations of Women and Virtue in Early China. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1998.

A Brief History of Rock and Pop Music

Belem Tower

You may be wondering when exactly did rock/pop music begin? There’s no clear answer to this. Some might say that it started with the advent of rock n roll with Bill Haley and the Comets in 1952. Others would say Elvis, although not the first but surely the original truly global superstar. Yet none of these were really the first. Rock n roll has its roots in blues which has its roots back to the 19th century with black immigrants trying to escape from their slave driven lives. Fast forward to the early 20th. century and some of the earliest recordings on 78 began to appear. Players from this time such as Bobby Jo and Robert Johnson helped to form the structure of early blues

Robert Johnson had recorded only thirty songs during his short life as he was prevented from achieving true fame while alive by being poisoned by a jealous husband. He died shortly before he was being sought to appear at the ‘Spirituals To Swing’ concert in 1938 by record producer John Hammond. As a result, his reputation only took off after Hammond released an album of his recordings for Columbia in the early sixties. Later blues exponents like Muddy Waters and Eric Clapton admitted borrowing heavily from these early stalwarts.

In the 50’s, artists took the basic blues style and used electric guitars, drums and double bass for the first time creating early rock n roll, later known as rockabilly. Stalwarts like Chuck Berry, Buddy Hollie and Jerry Lee Lewis were the most famous protagonists here. Later Elvis in the US and to a lesser extent, Cliff Richard (later leading the Shadows) in the UK brought rock n roll to a truly worldwide audience. This paved the way for the 60’s beat era which could be considered the true beginning of pop music as we know it today, certainly as far as bands were concerned.

In the 50’s and early 60’s, it was mostly lead solo artists with just a backing band. With the advent of the beat era, bands dominated with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys from the US taking the world by storm. Even so, The Beatles later admitted being heavily influenced by those earlier rock n roll and blues artists. They mostly played rock n roll and blues covers at their pre-fame Hamburg concerts. in the early 60’s. The Beatles however, were the first band to successfully blend classical music textures with rock n roll to form perfectly crafted pop songs. While bands like The Rolling Stones continued with the mainly rock n roll theme,

The Beatles took their finely crafted style further in the seminal album ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ in 1967 by utilizing new studio techniques and instruments never used before. They used a new instrument called ‘the Melotron’ This was basically a keyboard which played looped tape recordings. of real instruments. The most famous sound from this was probably the flute used on the ‘Strawberry Fields’ single recorded at the same time but later dropped from the album. The Melotron though, was cumbersome and unreliable and had a rather grainy sound. Even so It was regarded as the forerunner of the electronic sampler, invented nearly 20 years later. Infinitely more flexible than the Melotron, the sampler helped build the framework for modern pop,dance and R&B music.

The Beatles ‘Sgt.. Pepper’ album with its groundbreaking recording techniques was preceded the year before by their ‘Revolver’ album. These LP’s helped popularize a new wave in music known as psychedelic or acid rock, named after the mind bending effects of LSD drugs. Pink Floyd also recorded their debut album ‘Piper at the Gates of Dawn’ in the studio next door at the same time that The Beatles recorded Sgt. Pepper. It was reported that Pink Floyd were a direct influence to The Beatles as a result. This new style incorporated new guitar effects like Fuzz, flanger anger and delays. These were used along side the earliest portable synthesizers such as the therein and mini Moog. invented by Bob Moog.

In America, the Beach boys responded with the ‘Pet sounds’ LP in 1966 and later that year released the first big psychedelic hit ‘Good Vibrations’. About this time, the band ‘Jefferson Airplane’ recorded their debut album which was also the first LP to come out of the new San Franciscan music scene. This got the record industry’s attention and they had two of the earliest psychedelic hits ‘White Rabbit’ and ‘Somebody to Love’ in 1967.

Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Jim Morrison joined with members of The Psychedelic Rangers and Rick and the Ravens to form ‘The Doors’ They were initially turned down by Columbia but were signed to Electra Records and released their self titled debut LP in 1967. The album included the 7 minute long hit single ‘Light my Fire’ one of the first to break the typical three minute pop and rock song barrier.

Back in Britain, radio broadcasting was very limited because the BBC were the only organization allowed to broadcast on the mainland and had just two pop music shows The Saturday club and Easy Beat Radio Luxembourg partially filled the gap but it was left to pirate radio, broadcast from ships out at sea with DJ John Peel’ which enabled the new style to reach a mass audience, often eclipsing the BBC in popularity. The BBC responded in the end with the advent of Radio 1 in June 1967. With the existing labor government making pirate radio illegal in Britain several months later, Du’s like John Peel rather than risk arrest joined radio 1 which had a much more informal and relaxed style as opposed to the staid and conservative approach favored by the BBC until then. This perfectly suited psychedelic pop and rock and John Peel championed this in his late night shows. playing new genres of music and introducing new and unsigned bands in the Peel sessions. He did this for nearly four decades until his death in 2004.

By the end of the 60’s after the break up of the beatles, mainstream music was about to change direction yet again both in style and fashion.

All These Worlds Are Yours – The Appeal of Science Fiction

Qoʻqon UZ - Dakhmai-Shokhon 02

I've been fascinated with science fiction stories for as long as I can remember, though, I must confess, I never thought of science fiction as being mainstream literature. I, like many readers, pursed science fiction as a form of escapism, a way to keep up with speculation on recent scientific discoveries, or just a way to pass the time.

It was not until I met with my thesis adviser to celebrate the approval of my paper that I had to think about science fiction in a new light. My adviser works for a large, well-known literary foundation that is considered to be very "canonical" in its tastes. When he asked me if I liked science fiction, and if I would be willing to select about one hundred stories for possible inclusion in an anthology that they were thinking about producing, I was somewhat surprised. When he told me it might lead to a paying gig, I became even more astounded. I went home that afternoon feeling very content: my paper had been approved, and I might get a paying job to select science fiction, of all things.

Then it hit me: I'd actually have to seriously think about some sort of a method to select from the thousands of science fiction short stories that had been written in the past century. When I considered that the ideals of the foundation would have to be reflected in the stories which I selected, something near panic set in: science fiction was not part of the "cannon."

"While I pondered weak and weary, over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore," I reached a decision: I'd first try to figure out what science fiction "was," and then I'd develop a set of themes that related to the essence of science fiction. So, armed with this battle plan, I proceeded to read what several famous authors had to say about science fiction. This seemed simple enough, until I discovered that no two authors thought science fiction meant quite the same thing. Oh, great, thought I: "nevermore." (Sorry, Edgar, I could not resist).

Having failed to discover the essence of science fiction, I selected four authors which work I liked to try to determine what they contributed to the art of science fiction. The authors were: Isaac Asimov, Robert Silverberg, Orson Scott Card, and Arthur C Clarke. At the time, I did not realize that two of the authors, Asimov and Clarke were considered "hard" science fiction writers, and the other two, Silverberg and Card, were considered "soft" science fiction writers.

So, you might ask: what is the difference between "hard" and "soft" science fiction. I'm glad you asked, else I would have to stop writing right about now. "Hard" science fiction is concerned with an understanding of quantum sciences, such as astronomy, physics, chemistry, etc. "Soft" science fiction is often associated with the humanities or social sciences, such as sociology, psychology or economics. Of course, some writers blend "hard" and "soft" science fiction into their work, as Asimov did in the Foundation trilogy.

So, having selected the authors, I was ready to proceed to my next challenge, which you can read about in the next installation of the series. "All these worlds are yours:" the Appeal of Science Fiction, Part II

In the first part of the series, I mentioned that I was given an assignment to select approximately one hundred science fiction short stories for inclusion in an anthology that was being considered by a literary foundation. Originally, I'd intended to find the "essence" of science fiction, and then select stories that reflected this essence. Unfortunately, this turned out to be nearly impossible, since different authors had different ideas about what constituted science fiction.

So, I took the easy way out, I selected four authors which works appealed to me, and hoped that I could make selection based on my familiarity with their works. My selection process rejected in four authors who have been writing science fiction for thirty years or more: Isaac Asimov, Robert Silverberg, Orson Scott Card, and Arthur C Clarke. As it turned out, two authors were considered "hard" science fiction writers, and two were considered "soft" science fiction writers.

Well, I finally had a plan. And then the wheels fell off. I still needed some sort of selection criteria, or I had to develop one as I read. So, I did what anyone in my place would have done. I started reading. I read, and read some more, and then … I read some more. Over three thousand pages and three hundred short stories, in fact. I was almost ready to make a stab at a selection process; almost, but not quite.

What, three thousand pages, and still can not figure out how to start? How could this be? Okay, so I'm exaggerating a little bit. I started to break the stories up into groupings around general themes-it helps when I organize things into groups, so I can apply some sort of selection criteria for seemingly unreferenced data points (who says that thirty years in business does not have its rewards )? Gradually, I began grouping the stories into several broad headings: scientific discoveries; life-forms (which included aliens, man-made life and artificial life); the search for meaning (which includes the search for God or the gods); the death of a group of men, a nation, race, or system; the meaning of morality.

Now I admit, these groupings may be arbitrary, and may in fact reflect my perspective on things, but I had to start somewhere. The strange thing was that these grouping tended to repeat, no matter who the author was. When I think about it, these same types of concerns are mirrored in the more "canonical" texts that are taught in school. So, what makes science fiction different from the mainstream texts in colleges and universities across the country?

Once again, I'm glad you asked that, because it is a perfect lead-in to the next part of the series. "All these worlds are yours:" the Appeal of Science Fiction, Part III

I guess that the main difference between science fiction and the more acceptable or "canonical" type of fiction must arise either from the themes employed, or the subject matter. In part two of this series, I mentioned that the themes employed by science fiction, namely: the search for life, identity, the gods, and morality are similar to those themes employed in "canonical" literature. By the process of subtraction, that leaves subject matter as the primary difference between the two genres.

So, by subject matter, we must mean science, since we've already covered fiction ("when you has eliminated the impossible, whatever is left, no matter how improbable, must be the truth," as Sherlock Holmes would say). So, we must infer that science is the factor which differentiates science fiction from traditional fiction. By this definition, several traditional pieces of fiction must be considered science fiction. As an example, The Tempest, by William Shakespeare has often been cited as a type of science fiction if we expand the category to include those works that incorporated current science into their works. But wait, you say, The Tempest does not incorporate science into its construction. Oh really, I reply, the English were just beginning to settle the New World in earnest when the play was written ("Oh, brave new world that has such people in't.") more fantasy than science fiction. Splitting hairs, I reply.

What then of John Milton, I ask? John Milton … why, he's so boring and well, unread these days, you reply. Of course he is, but that's beside the point. What about Paradise Lost, I rejoin? What about it, you reply (and then in a very low voice … I've never read it). The scene where Satan leaves hell and takes a cosmic tour before alighting on Earth and Paradise has been described by many critics as being the first instance of an author providing a cosmological view of the heavens. In fact, Milton schools point to the fact that Milton, in the Aereopagitica claims to have visited Galileo Galilei at his home in Italy. These same critics also refer to the fact that Milton taught his nephews astronomy, using several texts that were considered progressive in their day. Still, most critics would fall on their pens (swords being so messy and difficult to come by these days), rather than admit to Paradise Lost being … gasp, science fiction.

Still not convinced; what do you say about Frankenstein? You say it made for several interesting movies, but really, the creature was overdone; bad make-up and all that. I reply: the make-up is irrelevant; for that matter, so are many of the films, which do not do justice to Mary Shelley's novel. She did not even write the novel, you reply. Oh no, not another apologist for Percy Bysshe Shelley writing the novel. Let me state uniquivocally that I do not care whether Mary or Percy wrote the novel: it is often cited as the first instance of science fiction. But where is the science, you ask: it is only alluded-to. That's' why it's also fiction, I retort.

So, where are we? I think we've managed to muddle the waters somewhere. It appears that the element of science is needed for science fiction, but the precedents for science being contained in a fictional work, are somewhat troubling. Perhaps in the next section, we should examine "modern" science fiction and try to determine how science plays a part in works of the twenty and twenty-first centuries.

"All these worlds are yours:" the Appeal of Science Fiction, Part IV

Up till now, we've defined science fiction as part science, and part fiction. No real revolutionary concept there. I've tried to show how earlier works could have considered science fiction, with mixed results. I've also said that works of the twenty century would be easier to classify as science fiction, because they incorporated more elements of leading-edge science into their writing.

To use two brief examples, the Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov is often considered a "soft" science fiction work, relying more on the social sciences than the physical sciences in the plot line. In the story, Asimov posits the creation of a foundation that relationships on psychohistory, a kind of melding of group psychology and economics that is useful in predicting and extremely molding, human behavior. Anyone who has been following the stock and financial markets over the past year can attest to the element of herd mentality which permeates any large scale human interaction. The theme of shaping human dynamics through psychohistory, while somewhat far-fetched is not beyond the realm of possibility (and would, no doubt, be welcomed by market bulls right about now).

A second example from Asimov, that of the three laws of robotics, has taken on a life of its own. Asimov began developing the laws of robotics to explain how a robot might work. The three laws were postulated as a mechanism to protect humans and robots. He did not expect the laws to become so ingrained into the literature on robots; in fact, the laws have become something of a de facto standard in any story or novel written about artificial life, as Asimov has noted in several essays.

The case of Asimov's three laws of robotics influencing other writers is not unusual. In the case of Arthur C. Clarke, his influence is felt beyond writing and extends to science as well. Clarke is the person responsible for postulating the use of geo-synchronous orbit for satellites, and the makers of weather, communications, entertainment and spy satellites owe him a debt of gratitude for developing this theory. He anticipated the manned landing on the moon, and many discoveries made on Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and their many moons.

Consider also, Orson Scott Card, which novel speaker for the Dead, postulates a world-wide communication network that is uncannily similar to the world-wide-web and predated the commercial internet by some fifteen to twenty years.

It appears then, that science fiction writers popularize science, provide their readers with a glimpse of the possibilities of newventions and theories, and sometimes, anticipate or even discover new uses for technology. But there's still an element missing in our definition of science fiction, that of the fiction side of the equation. We'll explore the fiction side of science fiction in the next installation. "All these worlds are yours:" the Appeal of Science Fiction, Part V

Good literature requires a successful plot, character development, and an emotional appeal in order to be successful. Science fiction is no different than traditional forms of fiction in this regard. We've talked about plot and content (science) in early installations. In this installation, I'd like to talk about the emotional reactions generated by science fiction.

Broadly speaking, I think science fiction appeals to the following emotional responses: terrorism, the joy of discovery, awe and wonder, a lassitude born of too many space flights or too many worlds, and a sense of accomplishment. The instances of terror in science fiction are well documented: for anyone who has seen Alien for the first time, terrorism is a very real emotion. Many science fiction and horror writers as well, make good use of the emotion of terror. An effective use of terror is important, however. Slasher movies use terror, but they sometimes degenerate into an almost parodic exercise of who can generate the most gore per minute. True terror is a case of timing and the unexpected. That's why Arthur C Clarke's story entitled "A Walk in the Dark" is so effective. The author sets-up the BEM (bug-eyed monster, from Orson Scott Card) as a pursuing agent; the protagonist has no idea that the monster will actually wind-up in front of him.

As to the joy of discovery, this emotion can work in reverse. In Orson Scott Card's brilliant short story and novel, Ender's Game, the child protagonist learns that the war games he was practicing for were actually the real thing. His surprise, remorse and confusion have sustained effects on his psyche, and set the stage for his attempts later in life to attain some sort of recompense for the race which he and his cohorts destroyed.

Robert Silverberg's works evoke a feeling of dj-vu, a sense of being on too many worlds or too many travels; a moral ennui not found in many writers. Yet somehow, he transcends this eternal boredom to reveal with startingling clarity that something lies beyond; if only aought after end.

Perhaps no other science fiction author offers a sense of wonder and discovery, a sense of joy de vivre, as does Arthur C Clarke. In story after story, Clarke expounds on new worlds, new discoveries, new possibilities ("all these worlds are yours …"). His love of the cosmos is rooted in his love of astronomy and physics, and is bundled together with a love of mannish that makes his work so inspiring and evergreen.

But what of our final category, that of a sense of accomplishment? Each of these writers talks in some way to the human experience. In bridging the worlds of science and fiction, in writing to our fears, hopes, joys and sorrows, each of these authors stakes a claim to be included among the list of canonical authors. In "Nightfall," Arthur C Clarke writes the effects of an atomic war, and thinks back to an earlier time. He is staking his claim to posterity when he writes:

Good freed for Iesvs sake forbeare,

To dig the dvst enclosed heare

Blest be ye man yt spares thes stones,

And cvrst be he yt moves my bones.

Undisturbed through all eternity the poet could sleep in safety now: in the silence and darkness above his head, the Avon was seeking its new outlet to the sea.

For Sir Arthur was paying his respects to the Bard, and claiming his place in the pantheon of the great English writers.

Culture

We like the moooooon (heavily annotated Harvest Moon, 10/6/2006)

In the present-day world there are few people who reject the phenomenon of globalization. The world is becoming more and more global in the sense that people of various cultures start to communicate more freely. Furthermore there are means to communicate thoughts and ideas across cultures such as television, the internet and so on. Even though it is so common to believe that knowledge, experience, science are capable of transcending all cultural differences, many people lessen the importance of those barriers and oftentimes disregarding their existence.

All cultures have a set of beliefs that institute the code of values ​​and moral laws for that particular culture. In Asia for example people were exposed to certain social phenomena and inevitably adopted certain beliefs that now determine their behavior as a separate culture. In other countries people share different beliefs and values ​​due to a variety of factors. Religion is one of the most important factors that shape the society in terms of its cultural beliefs and traditions. Another important component is history that can tell us about the events of the past that might have had some influence on the further development of people in that particular country.

Cultural differences present a very interesting social phenomenon to study and understand. There are cultures that share very similar values ​​and traditions and there are cultures that have very different beliefs. In the confines of this paper, I will focus my attention on the differences between Chinese and American cultures that in my opinion present very good examples for this study. There are myriad differences in all aspects of social activity and there are probably more differences than similarities in these two cultures.

To study a particular culture is to actually study the people and their behavior from a sociological perspective. It is very important to construct a working definition of a culture. Culture is a set of social norms, traditions, beliefs and values ​​shared by a large group of people. Individuals who belong to that group can be considered a culture. By the same token, they can be called a society because at this point there is not much difference between the two notions. A society is literally a group of people that share that particular set of beliefs, values ​​and so on, whereas the word culture has slightly different connotations. A particular culture may as well be share by more than one nation whereas the word society is usually applicable to the nation that inhabits a particular country. There are slight differences between these two terms but most sociologists and anthropologists use them interchangeably.

In other words, a culture is a set of beliefs or a particular ideology that a society shares. It is very interesting to understand how people develop a culture because it seems to be a purely social phenomenon developed by a group of people and then spread among others individuals who somehow relate to that particular group.

As an example, communist countries have very different cultures. They vividly illustrate how a group of people can influence a culture. China was not always a communist country. Long before communists came to power the population of the country shared a different ideology. The communist government directly influenced the country's culture by the means of propaganda, the education system, television etc. Subsequently, the next generation is going to absorb the culture modified by communism whereas the previous generation is not so likely to accept it. However, even though communists altered people's views and beliefs they could not completely eradicate most of the traditions shared by the society (Henry Rosemont, 1981).

There are many numerous differences between human beings and animals. Even though humans as well as animals are very complex creatures that have very complicated biological and chemical processes going on in their bodies, humans are more complex creatures because there is a great deal of social interaction that implies relationships, mental processes, human behavior, etc . Social sciences are several related fields that basically study the interaction among human beings. This field is very broad because the social activities that human beings involve in are so numerous that it would be hard to expound all the phenomena that can not be explained by natural sciences in one discipline.

The social sciences include anthropology, sociology, political science, economics, law, psychology, criminology and social psychology. All these sciences are very important because they make an attempt to explain why people act that way they do, why they interact with others, and why they form a global society. Actually these disciplines cover a lot more social issues that directly relate to the behavior of people. The difference between the social sciences and the natural sciences lies in the fact that the natural sciences like physics, mathematics, biology and chemistry study the processes and objects that can be physically measures in terms of weight, speed, or other measurements. Social sciences deal with more subtle social processes and phenomena that can not be measured exactly but can only be pondered and theorized about (Encyclopedia Britannica).

Anthropology is a very diverse and broad discipline that primarily deals with questions like what people think, what they do, why they interact with each other, and how they evolved over the course of time. Mostly, anthropologists deal with very basic questions but it is the simplicity that gives way to more complex phenomena. This discipline also studies how people can adopt to various cultural environments and how the cultures were formed. Ultimately, the purpose of this science is to understand the human life. Anthropology contains three main components that are employed by scientists to unravel the mysteries of the human race. They are society, culture, and evolution. Society and culture are the terms that are often confused and used interchangeably.

The basic definition of society can be found in biology where a herd of horses for example is referred to as society. However, society in the anthropological sense is used in reference to humans who can form a society of several billions of people who share the same culture. Culture, on the other hand, is a set of rules, customs, traditions that people live in accordance with. A society that shares the same set of social rules that can be called a culture. Therefore, there is very subtle difference between the two terms and most of the time they can be used interchangeably due to the great deal of similarity. There are several elements that institute a culture.

First of all, people who form a culture speak the same language, and employ other means of communicating complex ideas such as art, literature, cinema, etc. Thus a culture can be passed from generation to generation. Evolution is a radically different approach and it aims at the evolution of human beings over time. There are numerous theories that try to examine the process of evolution but most of them are questionable. As a separate discipline of anthropology consists of several fields that include cultural anthropology that studies the elements that institute a culture and what role cultures play in the world today; linguistic anthropology that focuses on the role of the language in the society; archaeology that studies the ancient societies, the cultures of the past and the effect they have on the present-day world; and physical anthropology that focuses on the evolution of human beings in terms of biological and physiological aspects.

Physical anthropology is similar to archaeology in the sense that both study the evolution. However, physical anthropology focuses on the physical changes that presumably occurred in the human bodies over time whereas archeology emphasizes the cultural aspects of evolution. As you can see, anthropology is a very broad field and it is closely related to some other social disciplines (Encyclopedia Britannica).

Another very important component that I believe influences the formation of a particular culture is mythology that relates to the people of that culture. Mythology is essentially a set of myths that originated in a culture and were spread around by people. Thereafter, this set of myths became traditions and cultural beliefs that are share by the people of that culture. A myth can be classified as a narrative or a tale that has been passed from one generation to another by word of mouth. This process of retelling keeps going up to the point when it is hard to distinguish between a tale and a true story.

Myths usually get accepted by the culture as a custom or a tradition and when this happens it is hard to tell a myth from reality. Most of the time, people involuntarily believe that the myths that happened to originate a long time ago set the foundation of their culture (E. Evans, 1983). Myths are universal, occurring in almost all cultures. They typically date from a time before the introduction of writing, when they were passed orally from one generation to the next. Myths deal with basic questions about the nature of the world and human experience, and because of their all-encompassing nature, myths can illuminate many aspects of a culture. Although it is difficult to draw rigid distinctions among various types of traditional tales, people who study mythology find it useful to categorize them.

The three most common types of tales are sagas, legends, and folktales. When a tale is based on a great historical (or presumably historical) event, it is generally known as a saga. Despite a saga's basis in very distant historical events, its dramatic structure and characters are the product of storytellers' imaginations. A legend is a fictional story associated with a historical person or place. Legends often provides examples of the virtues of honored figures in the history of a group or nation. The traditional American story about young George Washington and the cherry tree – in which he could not lie about chopping it down – is best described as a legend, because George Washington is a historical figure but the story about the cherry tree is recognized today as fictional. Folktales, a third variety of traditional tale, are usually simple narratives of adventure built around elements of character and plot – for example, the young man who slays a monster and wins the hand of a princess. Folktales may contain a moral or observation about life, but their chief purpose is entertainment (E. Evans, 1983).

Myths may include features of sagas, legends, and folktales. What makes one of these tales a myth is its serious purpose and its importance to the culture. Experts typically define a myth as a story that has complying drama and deals with basic elements and assumptions of a culture. Myths explain, for example, how the world began; how humans and animals came into being; how certain customs, gestures, or forms of human activity originated; and how the divine and human worlds interact. Many myths take place at a time before the world as human beings know it came into being. Because myth-making often involves gods, other supernatural creatures, and processes beyond human understanding, some scholars have viewed it as a dimension of religion. However, many myths address topics that are not typically considered religious – for example, why features of the landscape take a certain shape (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2002, Deluxe Edition).

The key character of Chinese mythology is monkey. He is a god-hero who is the cornerstone of ancient China's mythology (Henry Rosemont, 1981). Based on what is said in the legends, monkey was born from a stone egg that was created from a rock as old as time and included the essence of the Earth and Heaven. Monkey was endowed with a magical staff that could shrink or grow to any size. Also this hero had other magical abilities. For example there is a famous picture in Chinese mythology where the monkey creates an army out of his fur blowing it into the air.

Subsequently, this clever creature creates a monkey warrior out of every single hair. Monkey defied the supreme god of Chinese mythology, the Jade Emperor, with his own claim as high god. To appease the mischievous Monkey, the Jade Emperor proclaimed him King of Heaven, concealing the fact that he had only made him a heavenly stable keeper. Monkey discovered this deception and, enraged, returned to Earth to wreak havoc. The Jade Emperor entreated Buddha for help. Buddha dropped a mountain on Monkey, and Monkey remained benefit it for 500 years. On his journey from China to India to retrieve Buddhist scriptures, the monk Tripitaka unearthed Monkey, who became tripitaka's escort and disciple. With two other companions, Piggy and Sandy, both exempts of the Heavenly Court reborn in monstrous bodies, Monkey accompanied the monk for 14 years, covering nine kingdoms and encountering numerous fantastic adventures. After introducing the scriptures Tripitaka had obtained in India to the Chinese emperor in the imperial capital of Chang-an, the four travelers were borne up to heaven. Monkey, with his irrepressible spirit and countless magic tricks, is generally regarded as a personification of the nature of genius (Encyclopedia Britannica).

Culture is basically the patterns of behavior and thinking that people living in social groups learn, create, and share. Culture identifies one human group from others. It also identifies humans from other animals. A people's culture includes their beliefs, rules of behavior, language, rituals, art, technology, styles of dress, ways of producing and cooking food, religion, and political and economic systems (E. Evans, 1983). Culture is the most important concept in anthropology – the study of all aspects of human life, past and present. Anthropologists commonly use the term culture to refer to a society or group in which many or all people live and think in the same ways.

Likewise, any group of people who share a common culture – and in particular, common rules of behavior and a basic form of social organization – constituents a society. Thus, the terms culture and society are somewhat interchangeable. However, while many animals live in societies, such as herds of elk or packs of wild dogs, only humans have culture. Culture developed together with the evolution of the human species, Homo sapiens, and is closely related to human biology. The ability of people to have culture comes in large part from their physical features: having big, complex brains; an upright post; free hands that can grasp and manipulate small objects; and a vocal tract that can produce and articulate a wide range of sounds (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2002 Deluxe Edition). These distinctively human physical features began to develop in African ancestors of humans more than four million years ago.

The earliest physical evidence of culture is crude stone tools produced in East Africa over two million years ago. People have culture primarily because they can communicate with and understand symbols. Symbols allow people to develop complex thoughts and to exchange those thoughts with others. Language and other forms of symbolic communication, such as art, enable people to create, explain, and record new ideas and information. Symbols allow people to develop complex thoughts and exchange those thoughts with others (E. Evans, 1983). A symbol has either an indirect connection or no connection at all with the object, idea, feeling, or behavior to which it reiterates.

For instance, most people in the United States find some meaning in the combination of the colors red, white, and blue. But those colors themselves have nothing to do with, for instance, the land that people call the United States, the concept of patriotism, or the US national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. To convey new ideas, people constantly invent new symbols, such as for mathematical formulas (E. Evans, 1983). In addition, people may use one symbol, such as a single word, to represent many different ideas, feelings, or values. Thus, symbols provide a flexible way for people to communicate even very complex thoughts with each other. For example, only through symbols can architects, engineers, and construction workers communicate the information necessary to construct a skyscraper or bridge. People have the capacity at birth to construct, understand, and communicate through symbols, primarily by using language.

Research has shown, for example, that infants have a basic structure of language – a sort of universal grammar – built into their minds. Infants are thus predisposed to learn the languages ​​spoken by the people around them. Language provides a means to store, process, and communicate amounts of information that vastly exceeds the capacities of nonhuman animals. For instance, chimpanzees, the closest genetic relatives of humans, use a few dozen calls and a variety of gestures to communicate in the wild. People have taught some chimps to communicate using American Sign language and picture-based languages, and some have developed vocabularies of a few hundred words. But an unabridged English dictionary may contain more than half-a-million vocabulary entries. Chimpanzees have also not clearly demonstrated the ability to use grammar, which is crucial for communicating complex thoughts. In addition, the human vocal tract, unlike that of chimpanzees and other animals, can create and articulate a wide enough variety of sounds to create millions of distinct words.

In fact, each human language uses only a fraction of the sounds humans can make. The human brain also contains areas dedicated to the production and interpretation of speech, which other animals lack. Thus, humans are predisposed in many ways to use symbolic communication. People are not born with culture; they have to learn it. For instance, people must learn to speak and understand a language and to abide by the rules of a society. In many societies, all people must learn to produce and prepare food and to construct shelters. In other societies, people must learn a skill to earn money, which they then use to provide for themselves. In all human societies, children learn culture from adults.

Anthropologists call this process enculturation, or cultural transmission. Enculturation is a long process. Just learning the intricacies of a human language, a major part of enculturation, takes many years. Families commonly protect and enculturate children in the households of their birth for 15 years or more (Encyclopedia Britannica). Only at this point can children leave and establish their own households. People also continue to learn through their lifetimes. Thus, most societies respect their elders, who have learned for an entire lifetime. Humans are not alone in their ability to learn behaviors, only in the amount and complexity of what they can learn.

For example, members of a group of chimpanzees may learn to use a unique source of food or to fashion some simple tools, behaviors that may distinguish them from other chimpanzee groups. But These unique ways of life are minor in comparison to the rich cultures that distinguish different human societies. Missing speech, chimps are very limited in what they can learn, communicate to others, and pass on from generation to generation.

People living together in a society share culture. For example, almost all people living in the United States share the English language, dress in similar styles, eat many of the same foods, and celebrate many of the same holidays. All the people of a society collectively create and maintain culture. Societies preserve culture for much longer than the life of any one person. They reserve it in the form of knowledge, such as scientific discoveries; objects, such as works of art; and traditions, such as the observation of holidays.

As it was pointed out mythology plays a vital role in the development of a culture. The tales and sagas that originated in a particular culture are adopted as beliefs and traditions that in turn form a cultural foundation that people adhere to. It is not only traditions that determine a cultural barrier that interferes with the mutual understanding among cultures. People in China were able to develop different traditions and customs partly because they inhabited a different geographical area and were not influenced by the American culture. There are things that can only be understood by people who live in a particular area. Furthermore when the representatives of a particular culture confront people from another culture there is a great deal of misunderstanding between them. Using the sociological terminology, it can be classified as a cultural clash. Such a cultural clash happens whenever people from two different cultures attempt to communicate an idea not taking into account the cultural differences that exist between them.

Bibliography
Chinese Language, Chinese Philosophy, and Truth. Journal of Asian Studies 44: 3 (May 1985), p. 491-519

Encyclopedia Britannica 2002 Deluxe Edition.

Edward Evans. Understanding and interpreting cultures. New York: Random House, 1983.

Henry Rosemont. Studies in Classical Chinese Thought. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1981.

Lisa A. Raphals. Sharing the Light: Representations of Women and Virtue in Early China. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1998.

Writing a Letter for The College Admissions Office

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When actively seeking information from colleges, you will need to write a letter to the college admissions office. Since you are going to be seeking information from many different colleges, you do not want to write one individual letter for each college. This can be very time-consuming and tedious work. You will want to create one letter or template that can be individualized for each college. Make one generic letter and then print it however many times you need to and send it to whatever colleges you are interested in.

Your letter should be addressed to the college admissions office. You should address the dean of admissions and tell them you are very interested in their college and you are seriously considering enrolling. Give them one good reason why you are considering going to college there.

All you need is just a basic letter. An example of one can be found below.

The name and address of the college you want to apply to, as well as the name of the dean of admissions at the top of the letter goes here.

Dear ABC college…

I am a senior at XYZ high school in city, state. I would like to obtain some information on different colleges that I may choose to attend after graduation. Because ABC college offers electrical engineering, I am considering enrolling at your school because I am interested in the subject.

Please send me any and all available information about your college. Please send me information about admission requirements, courses, financial aid, and what housing options are available near campus. Please also include anything else you would like me to know about ABC college. The information you send can help me learn more about your college and making an informed decision about my future. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

John Q. student

Feel free to use any variation of this letter you like. There is no set template and it can be used in whatever way you see fit, as it is just an example. The goal is to show you that typing up a letter to obtain information about whatever college or university you are interested in can be done very quickly. You will need to address each letter individually, as well as personalize the letter with whatever school you are applying. The goal here is to have a template to make it very fast and efficient.

Top Five Small Business Tips For Success

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There are plenty of small business tips for success that are not necessarily dependent on having a lot of money or technology savvy. In fact, tens of thousands of small businesses are using the multitude of free and very low cost tools that are available on the Internet to manage their business, increase revenues, and reduce expenses. These tools are easily accessible, easy to use, and downright cheap if not free.

#1. If you a business that is local to a specific city then you can use Google’s free service called Google Places to advertise your business whenever someone keys in a search for your type of business within that city. This service is free, and is increasingly being used by many people searching for a product or service.

#2. Create flyers for free using the multitude of free templates that are on the Internet. For example, if you go to Microsoft website you’ll see that there are plenty of people who have offered free templates for flyers. These flyers have already been preformatted to give a professional look and feel. No need to hire an expensive graphic artist to create a flyer for you. Once you’ve created your flyer, put them in every place imaginable such as the local Starbucks or Jamba Juice bulletin boards, your local private mailbox boards, or even some Chamber of Commerces.

#3. Save time and money by using small business tips for success and a free service provided by Google called Google Docs. This is service allows you to upload all kinds of documents into an area where people can share and collaborate on them. No need to buy expensive hosting service to share documents between people. These is a great service, especially if you are tracking and sharing lots of documents between people and have a hard time managing, who has the latest revision.

#4. Want to work with a number of like-minded people, but don’t know where to go? How about creating your own group that has common goals in mind? You can create groups/communities in both Facebook and LinkedIn. These two social communities were designed to help people get connected with other people to share ideas, to collaborate, and to generally stay connected.

#5. Set up a virtual phone system and create your own advertising channel, as well as save money. There are a multitude of virtual phone systems available today that are downright cheap, very easy to use, and extremely flexible. Many people shy away from a virtual phone system, but if you leverage it correctly. You can reduce the need for a full time answering service, create multiple extensions that advertise your product and save on support issues for your clients and customers.

These top five small business tips for success are just a fraction of what you can do by using many free and cheap services available on the Internet. Don’t be afraid to experiment.