Originally published in Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems 19(4): 321-362, 1996
Culture as an Evolutionary Arena
1. Introduction: Just What is Culture?
2. Random Variation and Selective Retention
3. Culture: Paradigm, Meme, TraitIn The Selfish Gene , Richard Dawkins (1989 ) argues that, in effect, an organism is best thought of as a gene's way of making another gene, to paraphrase Norbert Wiener's remark that a chicken is just an egg's way of making another egg. I don't know enough biology to have a worthwhile opinion on whether or not that is a reasonable view to take of biological evolution. Nor do I understand cultural evolution well enough to pass judgment on whether or not culture evolves in that way.
Yet, as a way of beginning to think about cultural evolution, such a perspective is not bad. However much we talk about cultures, we don't really know what they are. The "genes" of culture seem a bit more tractable. I intend to take them on in the next section (3.1). After that we can move on to a consideration of cultural fitness (3.2) and then look at the "organisms" of culture, those things we tend to call "cultures" (3.3).
To begin with we need a concept in the human sciences which is to culture
and its evolution as the gene is to the biological world and its evolution.
What is it that circulates through human society and history as the genes
have circulated in biological evolution?
But what is this mysterious "cultural environment"? That is,
what is it that these mental entities are "interacting with"
which determines whether they rise or fall? For example, epistemologists
and intellectual historians ask why one idea succeeds while another fails.
One idea may be accepted because it agrees with the evidence better than
its competitors while another idea is adopted because it is more pleasing.
"Agreement with evidence" is one type of fitness while "elegance"
is another. Ideas which are fit in either, or even both, of these ways
are better equipped to survive in the cultural environment than ideas lacking
either of these qualities.
Given this relationship between demand and ability, it is obvious that,
as we set about adding a skill to our repertoire, performing the ever-more
familiar task will cease to engender flow and instead engender boredom.
To regain that pleasing sense of flow we must set ourselves a more difficult
task, one which challenges our ever-enlarging skill set.
There are a great many skills which function in both arenas. For example,
one needs a hut to survive cold winters; that hut thus serves to keep physical
reference levels for temperature and security in bounds. That the hut should
have a square door facing North does little if anything to increase its
capacity to provide protection from the cold, the rain, the snow (and,
predators too). But such a door may well bring the hut's structure into
correspondence with a host of other practices; and that overall correspondence
may thus satisfy an intrinsic need for beauty. Human cultures are replete
with such correspondences. In fact, Claude Levi-Strauss (1966) has, in
effect, argued that much of the work of culture is to inscribe the perceptual
and motoric skills of physical survival in the mental realm of culture.
As an example, Edmund Leach (1972) has argued that our sense of what food
is edible is not simply a matter of nutrition; it is also a matter of cultural
fitness. Dog meat is perfectly edible, but not in Western cultures. That
inediblity has to do with the position dogs occupy is the cultural system,
not with their biochemical composition.
While I think that each of these statements is more or less true, I
am not at the moment concerned with that truth (though in later sections
of this essay I will have something to say about 2, 5, 6, and 7). Rather,
I want to indicate a sense of what cultural paradigms are by giving examples
of how I think the concept should be used.
Given then, that the paradigm is the basic unit of cultural evolution,
I want to think about the culture of the relatively unsophisticated societies
of preliterate humans. Note that such societies must organize activities
in several domains, such as:
The exact delineation and enumeration of these domains isn't crucial
to the argument, and it may well vary between societies. Action in each
of these domains involves a myriad of sensations, perceptions, actions,
ideas, procedures, and so forth.
4. Biological Evolution: Taxonomy Recapitulates Phylogeny, Almost
Now it is time to imitate Tristram Shandy and progress by means
of digression. I want to consider the relationship between taxonomy and
phylogeny in biology. For one thing, much of our thinking about culture
and ethnicity rides piggy-back on biological metaphor. Nineteenth-century
thinkers who talked about the evolution of cultures (and of languages)
were deeply impressed with the explanatory power of evolutionary thinking
in biology (cf. Breck 1972, White 1972, Todorov 1986, Ruhlen 1991). As
species adapt and evolve, so do cultures and languages. Unfortunately,
in smuggling biological metaphor into discussions of culture we have converted
notions of a "pure" species into notions of "pure"
cultures in a way which does deep disservice to the actual ways of culture,
though it provides good material for racist political rhetoric.
As I understand it, the basic story of biological evolution goes like
this (cf. Ayala 1978, Stebbins 1982): Pick some particular species existing
at some point in time. As time ticks away that species will reproduce and
spread as its "ingenuity" and environmental "opportunities"
permit. In time several groups of individuals will come to exist in rather
different environments. These groups will become adapted to those different
environments and so come to be different species, all descendants of the
same ancestral species. As more time passes these descendent species may
well differentiate into further species. And so on. (Of course, reproductive
success is not guaranteed and any one of these species might well become
extinct, as has so often happened.) These differing species will become
reproductively isolated, that is, they will not interbreed.
Figure 3: Speciation
If we diagram the evolutionary paths taken from our ancestral species
to its various descendants, the diagram will have the form of a tree (see
Figure 4: Speciation and Classification
In the lower part of the diagram we see one species evolving into two
different species over the course of time. In the upper part of the diagram
we see the taxonomic relationship between these three species. Note that
the two later populations of organisms are not classified as the subordinates
of the parental population. Rather, all three are classified as species
of the same superordinate genus . If we were tracking phylogenetic
descent in two different genera, we would see the descendants remain within
the genus (see Figure 5). We would never see a situation where a lineages
of species in two different genera would cross from one genus to the other
(Figure 6, where a descendent of the white genus ends up in the black genus,
and a descendent of the black genus ends up in the white genus)--though,
as we shall see in the next section, something similar to this does occur
among plant species.
We could depict a structurally identical process one level up in the
biological taxonomic hierarchy. In this diagram we would see all the species
in one genus evolving over time into species in two (or more) genera, with
all the genera being in the same family. We could keep moving up in the
hierarchy through order, class, phylum, and kingdom. At every pair of taxonomic
levels descendants of a common ancestor would all be subclasses in the
same category while descendants of different ancestors would be subclasses
in different categories. The net effect is that we can, at least in principle,
pick any taxonomic category at any level in the system and find a lineage
such that all the species ultimately subsumed by that category are the
descendants of a common ancestral species. The higher the category we pick,
the longer the lineage.
We can further explore the relationship between phylogeny and taxonomy by considering the gene pool. From this point of view a species is not set of individuals, of phenotypes, but a collection of genes (which will, under the appropriate developmental circumstances, "construct" the individuals). Thus, when a species differentiates into two or more daughter species, we can think of that as differentiation of the gene pool. In Figure 7 we see such differentiation. At time 1 we have one species and one gene pool, consisting of genes Q, P, Z, and A among others. At time 2 we have two species and two gene pools. Both gene pools contain Q and A, among many others. But the pool for one species contains P' and Z, while the pool for the other species contains P and Z' .
Figure 8 expresses this relationship taxonomically. At the genus level
we have only the genes Q and A because those are the only ones which exist
in all three species. At the species level, the three species each have
Q and A and, as appropriate, two of the following: P, P', Z, or Z'. Note
that the species-level gene pools actually exist in the biological world
as autonomous functioning entities. The genus-level gene pool, however,
is an abstraction; it doesn't actually exist in the biological world as
an autonomous functioning entity. That is to say, the genus-level gene
pool would not itself be capable of producing viable organisms or of interacting
directly with other genus-level gene pools. Genus-level pools, and higher,
operate only indirectly, through the gene pools of the various species
We are now in a position to consider the significance of this transparent
relationship between phylogeny and taxonomy. No doubt there are people
who find the problems of biological classification interesting in and of
themselves. But the activity gains its intellectual importance from the
fact that the structure of those classes gives us strong clues about the
workings of the deepest mechanisms of biology, those of evolution. Those
who enjoy classification for its own sake might well be unmoved by the
deeper significance of their intellectual acts, but the community of biologists
would be less likely to support and reward that activity if it didn't reflect
deep biological mechanisms. Classification for the sake of classification
does not have deep intellectual significance, but classification in tandem
with theory does .
Cognitive scientists thus talk of inheritance (Barr and Feigenbaum 1981,
pp. 181-189; Hays 1981, pp. 19-24) and have studied it in conjunction with
information processing models of human thought. The representation for
each species inherits common information from the description of
the general bird. In some cases, it may be necessary to block the inheritance
of all the general information. Thus, while birds generally fly, the ostrich
does not. The representation for ostrich would thus have to block the inheritance
of that particular piece of information.
Not all species evolve through a process of specialization and differentiation
within a gene pool. In hybridization a species arises from the mixing of
gene pools for two parent species (see Figure 10).
Figure 10: Hybrid
In this case, X is descended from both J and L; such a convergent species
is called a hybrid. Hybrids do occur frequently among plants (Avise 1994,
pp. 280 ff.; Mayr 1982, pp. 284-285),Stebbins 1982, pp. 91-95, 210-213:
Weiner 1995, p. 32) and, for this reason, some biologists have proposed
that we talk of reticulate phylogeny (see Figure 11) in these cases rather
than the standard tree-like phylogeny (Avise, pp. 295-297). The effect
of reticulate phylogeny is that many plant populations do not become differentiated
into sharply defined species. Species are more sharply defined in the animal
world, with hybrids being less frequent (although there is recent experimental
evidence hybridization might be more significant than we had thought, see
Weiner, pp. 30 -33).
As long as hybridization remains confined to species of the same genus
the transparent relationship between phylogeny and taxonomy remains intact.
However, should hybridization occur between species of different genera--as
appears to be the case among plants--then the situation becomes more complex.
In Figure 11, for example, species X is in one lineage descending from
A and another descending from C. If A is in one genus and C in another,
which genus will X be in? Maybe in one, maybe, the other, maybe in some
third genus, it all depends (see Figure 12). For classification is based
on resemblance (however, see Ghiselin 1981, pp. 275-76). Individuals of
species X might resemble those of A, and thus be in the same genus. But
individuals of species X might be more like those of C, or even so unlike
individuals of A and B as to warrant classification in a completely different
5. Cultural Evolution: Mongrels at the Tower of Babel
Culture is not tidy at all. Cultures interbreed readily (cf. Roeder
1972, p. 260) and cultural taxonomy has never been well-behaved or deeply
Human culture and language as we know it today probably appeared between
50,000 and 100,000 years ago. It is clear that, for some time before that
emergence, bands of "proto-humans" had some kind of "proto-culture"
about which we know little (cf. Benzon and Hays 1988, p. 314, Donald, 1991).
Given this proto-cultural matrix, did full-blown human culture emerge only
once, and spread from that time and place, or did it emerge in more than
one place? For our purposes it makes no real difference. But the monogenetic
story is a little easier to tell. I leave the polygenetic story as an exercise
to the reader.
So, from the very start, culture evolves. However, it is reasonable
to speculate that, as long as there is room to walk so that people in one
group do not have significant interactions with those from other groups,
lineages may well be tree-like. Sooner or later, however, people will start
to encounter others from different cultures (see Figure 14), and when that
happens there will be borrowing. The tree-like structure of lineages will
now become "reticulate", to borrow a term from the biologists.
5.2 Charting the Ways of Language: Borrowing and Creolization
The basic problem of comparative linguistics has been to establish the
genealogical relationships between languages by creating a taxonomic tree.
In general, one compares various aspects of languages and attempts to infer
genealogical relationships between them. Consider the fragment in Figure
15, which is based on Merritt Ruhlen's (1991) classification of the world's
Linguistic taxonomies can ignore such borrowing because linguists make
a distinction between a basic linguistic core and a miscellaneous assortment
of extensions to that core. The genetic relationships which interest them
concern the core of the language, which includes such basic vocabulary
as that for body parts (eye and nose), and not the extensions. Thus borrowing
presents a methodological problem--how do we distinguish the genetic cognates
from mere borrowings? (Ruhlen 12-13)--and doesn't threaten basic intuitions
and preconceptions about the nature of linguistic evolution.
5.3 Creolization , African-America, and the Black Atlantic
With that we examine a case which interests me a great deal, that of
the mixing of African and European cultures on North American soil (Benzon
1993c). With respect to music, the historical record prior to this century
is so spotty that exact genealogy is not possible. However, the thrust
of most contemporary discussion is that there is extensive input from both
European and European-derived musical cultures, on the one hand, and African
musical cultures on the other (Schuller 1968, Collier 1978, 1983). African
American music is a creole. It is not African, nor is it European or Western.
It is sui generis , African-American, or, as some would have it
(cf. Ellison 1972, 253 ff., Murray 1976, Douglas 1995), simply American.
While we can trace memes and even traits to European and African sources,
the central originating cultural "energy" is American and thoroughly
subsumes and supplants the far-flung sources of those memes and traits.
6. Cultural Complexity
The most interesting kind of evolution is that which produces organisms
and cultures which are more complex and sophisticated than earlier ones
(Benzon and Hays 1990). Such evolution is not absolutely required of an
evolutionary process, and some would doubt its significance (cf. Gould
1994). However, permit me to observe, in the fashion of sophomores the
world over, that if biological evolution did not yield more complex and
sophisticated organisms, there would be no human beings to think about,
among many other things, the nature of the universe. And if culture did
not evolve, there would be no cultural relativists, among others, to doubt
(or at least to refuse to think about the fact) that culture evolves.
Preliterate societies range widely in complexity (Hays 1994, Levinson
and Malone 1980). The simplest live in small nomadic bands which subsist
by hunting and gathering. At this level there is little or no specialized
knowledge; that is, the repertoire of psychological traits is not specialized
and distributed among different individuals. For all practical purposes,
each adult knows everything there is to know. The most sophisticated preliterate
societies, such as the ancient Aztecs, have large permanent settlements
and cultivate a variety of crops. Here we see specialized knowledge; now
the psychological traits of the culture are distributed among different
sets of individuals. A priesthood specializes in symbolic matters and various
craftsmen know the ways of wood, leather, cloth, stone, and metal. No longer
can we say that each adult knows everything there is to know. In keeping
with my suggestion in section 3.4 (One Culture, One Paradigm), however,
I suggest that the specialized knowledge is confined to the episodic system
(and the lower level systems on which it depends). Every adult has essentially
the same gnomonic system, the same system of traits for verifying the overall
integrity of the world, but they will have various specializations at the
episodic level. Thus only potters will have the full complement of plans
and procedures needed to turn mud into fired pots. And only priests will
have mastered the complexities of various rituals and know the sacred stories
in full detail. But all will possess the basic high-level metaphors which
bond the entire system into a psychological Lebensraum.
The obvious, and not very helpful, answer to the problem of managing
a multi-paradigm society is that the culture requires more sophisticated
information processing mechanisms, such as writing. That writing has profound
effects on culture and society is widely acknowledged and not, in my view,
problematic. But just how it is that rearing people on writing allows a
society to juggle multiple paradigms is not at all clear to me, nor do
I intend to speculate on that issue here and now. Beyond that, there is
the matter of the scope of each of these several paradigms. However, one
point does seem clear within the general theory Hays and I have outlined.
Each paradigm will govern how reality is ultimately constructed in its
With the emergence of Rank 3 culture from the European Renaissance we
surely get a relatively large number of types of paradigm. If the number
of Rank 2 paradigms in a given culture approaches ten, then the number
of Rank 3 paradigms in a given culture may approach, shall we say, one
hundred. I would like briefly to discuss four specialized types of Rank
Drucker makes the point that these assumptions often are not explicitly
known within a business. That is a clue that he is talking about a paradigm.
Paradigms in any domain govern perceptions, thoughts, and actions, but
are not themselves explicitly known or subject to explicit conceptual tests
Given the Rank 1 growth curve which David Hays found in a succession
of sites in the Near East, it would be nice to display such curves for
growth for Rank 2 and Rank 3. Unfortunately, I cannot offer even that much
evidence. The best I can offer is my sense that the dynamics of growth
should be similar from one rank to the next.
7. Culture: Beyond Taxonomy and Genealogy
What then are we to make of the relationship between taxonomy and genealogy
in culture? The situation appears to be quite different from that in biology.
The widespread diffusion of memes from one culture to another by borrowing
means than any given culture has genetic relationships to many others.
Creolization is surely widespread and that confounds genealogy even more
deeply. Given the complexity of cultural genealogy there seems to be little
hope of devising a taxonomic system which has a transparent relationship
1. Dawkins does mention examples of animal culture in his discussion. In such cases his scheme of placing the genotypic items inside the brain and the phenotypic items, including such "skills such as opening milk bottles in tits, or panning wheat in Japanese macaques" (Dawkins 1982, p. 109), in their external behavior may well be just the thing. But even the most elaborate animal culture is far simpler than the simplest human culture. There is no reason to think that animal culture is subject to any fitness requirements other than those of biological survival. Human culture, as I argue, is a domain unto itself and has its own survival requirements above and those of biological survival. That difference is, I suspect, behind my decision to make the cultural phenotype internal and the genotype external. When we have a robust theory of evolutionary systems, one in which biological evolution and cultural evolution are but types, we may find a causal explanation of this difference. [Back]
2. I would like to thank Lars Sjosten for identifying this tune. Mr. Sjosten is a Swedish jazz pianist (Feather and Gitler, 1976, p. 309) who answered a query I placed in a jazz forum on CompuServe. [Back]
3. In his discussion of "The Evolution of Expressive Culture" David Hays suggests that the highest level cortical reference levels are for truth, love, beauty, and justice (1992, pp. 209-210). While Csikszentmihalyi is not aware of this work, his popular account of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (1990) contains four chapters which discusses categories of flow experience which are consistent with Hays's scheme. Thus chapter 5, " The Body in Flow" is concerned with beauty, chapter 6, "The Flow of Thought" is about truth, chapter 7 "Work as Flow" deals with matters Hays and I have discussed under the aegis of justice, while chapter 8 "Enjoying Solitude and Other People" is about love.
Hays and I imagine that truth, love, beauty, and justice are, in this technical sense, distinctly different modes of brain activity (Benzon and Hays 1988). A mode is a particular pattern of brain activation suited to a particular task. If one is reading, for example, certain areas of the brain must be active and communicating with one another in order to comprehend the written text. If one is performing a musical composition, a different pattern of brain activation is required while doing sums in one's head requires still a different activation and organization of neural resources.
So it would be with the pursuit of truth, love, beauty, or justice. In our view each of these is the reference level of a particular quadrant of tertiary cortical tissue. While in one of these modes all other neural activation is subordinate to satisfying the cortical reference level. Obviously, the pursuit of beauty through music is going to involve different sensorimotor channels from the pursuit of beauty through painting, thus the overall pattern of neural activity will be different in these two cases. But, in both cases, the organization of the activity in those different channels will be subject to requirements set by the "beauty quadrant" (which seems to be right-rear).
In some sense our notion is a refinement of the right-brain left-brain discussions which were popular in the sixties and seventies (see, for example, Ornstein, 1973, pp. 61-147). Those discussions posited that the two cortical quadrants were responsible for distinctly different kinds of experience and activity and set out to characterize what they were. In talking about cortical quadrants instead of hemispheres, Hays and I are simply recognizing the well-known difference between the front and rear cortex (cf. Luria 1973, pp. 63-99, Pribram 1969, pp. 357 ff.) and according it equal status with the left-hemisphere, right-hemisphere distinction. If we must then recognize both a front-rear distinction and a right-left distinction, that gives us four quadrants, each mediating a different kind of experience and activity. Beyond that, the older literature often reads as though right-brain activity was strictly right brain and left-brain activity was strictly left brain, implying that each hemisphere functioned as a self-contained processing unit. Our conception is a bit more flexible in that we are concerned about the overall pattern of neural activation. When we talk of a quadrant mode, we do not mean to imply that only a particular cortical quadrant is active. In general, we would expect high levels of activity to be situated in several cortical quadrants. But the overall regulation of this extended and distributed system of brain regions lies within a particular quadrant, with each quadrant regulating that distributed system to meet its particular informatic goal. [Back]
4. I find it impossible to discuss crisis cults without mentioning the current state of politics in the United States. I have the eerie sense that the world has moved so far from the conditions which existed when the basic categories of American political discourse were established that those categories are no longer particularly useful. However, those are the categories still in play. That means that voters must choose between those who promise to bring the buffalo back by dancing to the left and those who promise to bring the buffalo back by dancing to the right. Those of us who realize that the buffalo are gone forever seem to be without choices and therefore without influence, or is it the other way around? [Back]
5. Hays uses the term "paradigm" in this way in his The Evolution of Technology Through Four Cognitive Ranks (1993) but does not make the connection with the biological concept of a species. [Back]
6. We should note that Kuhn makes a distinction between "pre-paradigmatic" disciplines, which are not scientific, and those which have achieved paradigmatic consensus, and therefore are sciences. In the view I am advancing, all thought occurs under the aegis of some paradigm. The question of whether or not a discipline is scientific then becomes one of the properties of its governing paradigm. Do all recognized sciences share certain conceptual structures and processes which distinguish them from non-scientific realms of knowledge? For some preliminary work relevant to this question, see Benzon and Hays 1990,pp. 309-311. [Back]
7. Until we decided to think about the brain, our system had four levels, sensorimotor, systemic, episodic and gnomonic, with the sensorimotor system being perceptual and motoric while the other three are cognitive (Hays 1981, Benzon 1978). This distinction between sensorimotor systems and cognitive systems is the standard, if often obscure and muddled, distinction between low level processes having to do with perception and motion and high level systems having to do with thought. An examination of neurophysiology forced us to add a fifth level, at the bottom. We called this the limbic level, naming it after the well-recognized neural circuitry which dominates it (Benzon and Hays 1988). [Back]
8. It makes little difference whether the two species at time 2 have more genetic information than the species at time 1, so that P' and Z' represent new locations on the chromosome, or whether they are simply different alleles for positions which also exist in the chromosomes of the species at time 1. But, for convenience I've chosen an example where they represent different alleles. That, presumably, is the more common situation. [Back]
9. This point seems related to a rather arcane discussion which biologists and philosophers have been having on the question of whether or not biological taxa are classes or individuals (Ghiselin 1981, Hull 1981, Gould 1982). The argument that we are to treat species as individuals seems to be that, while a species does consist of many different organisms of the same kind, it is the species as a whole which figures in evolution, not any one or several of the individual members of that species. The species is thus itself an individual actor and not a class of individual actors.
Though I have no way of proving it, my sense is that this way of thinking about "classes" and "individuals" is a strange, but apparently common, side-effect of introductory courses in logic and set theory. In such courses one is introduced to the notion of a set and asked to contemplate various sets: the set of all automobiles, the set of all orange things, the set of all things weighing more than 58.35 kilograms, the set of all things in this room, the set of all things having either three appendages or a purple blinking light (but not both), the set of all things more than ten centimeters in extent in any direction on June 28, 1835 between 3:05:37 and 3:05:47 Greenwich Mean Time and located within three light years of Alpha Centauri. The point is that the concept of a set is perfectly general and absolutely indifferent as to what the sets might contain. That, of course, makes perfectly good sense. But, as a side effect, lots of people seem to think that classes are essentially arbitrary constructions which the human mind willfully imposes on a reluctant world. The biologists and philosophers are quite right in arguing that biological species are not classes of this arbitrary kind. But I must admit to feeling it a bit odd that the alternative seems to be to think of a species as an individual. In any event, I certainly do think of a species as being an individual in that sense. [Back]
10. Martin Bernal has recently managed to stir up a fuss by arguing that ancient Greece isn't so Aryan as classicists have led themselves to believe, arguing that Greek culture is deeply creolized with African and Asian elements figuring prominently in the mix (Bernal 1987). I am certainly in no position to evaluate the merit of his claims (on that, see, for example, Lefkowitz 1992a), but I am obviously sympathetic to arguments for creolization. This particular intellectual discussion might proceed more smoothly if the participants had a more flexible set of concepts through which to examine the spotty evidence which does exist. That is to say, much of the heat generated by this matter may be more the side-effect of an inadequate conceptual base than the ire kicked up by folks stubbornly defending the "myths" by which they work their manipulative ways on various cultural victims. [Back]
11. The four examples I used in this section have been chosen with a particular scheme in mind. In discussions about Rank 3 culture Hays and I have speculated that, at this cultural level, it becomes possible to have institutions and practices which are governed by a single one of the four gnomonic reference levels, truth, love, beauty, and justice (discussed in note 3 above). Each of these examples belongs in one of these spheres, at least in the sense Hays and I give them in our theorizing. Thus science is in the sphere of truth, the novel in the sphere of beauty, the family requires love, while business is governed by the need for justice. To be sure, it is a bit strange to think of business as a matter of justice and to say nothing of the law and of courts. I say nothing of the law and of courts because I have nothing to say about them, but they surely also come under the heading of justice as we understand it. As for putting business there, consider how very many laws and how very much court traffic is about business matters. More deeply, if you think about the world of business as aspiring to the equitable distribution of goods and services, as paying a just wage for work completed, then you enter into the sense in which we think of it as a sphere governed by the cortical need for justice. [Back]
12. It has long made sense
to think of such cultures as Norwegian, English, Italian, and Czech as
varieties of European culture. The accidents of history and geography are
such that these peoples live by the much the same paradigms. The differences
can be readily attributed to local variations in the shared paradigms rather
than to different paradigms. But what do we do with the fact that jazz
is played in each one of these countries? No doubt the jazz played in these
places reflects local influences, but the basic procedures of the music
originated elsewhere. Jazz is not a European expressive paradigm, but it
does exist in European nations. A classification of "cultures"
based on national units cannot handle jazz. Nor, for that matter, can it
handle science, which grew to maturity in Europe and is now studied the
world over. Cultural paradigms do not heed national boundaries. Perhaps
it would be better to think of nations, or groupings of nations such as
Europe, or the Third World, as the cultural equivalent of ecosystems. An
ecosystem is composed of interacting biological species. Nations and allied
groupings of nations are arenas in which paradigms, the species of culture,
interact with one another. Dealing with that issue, however, is beyond
the scope of this paper. [Back]
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