book, culture

I like to tease people around me about their silly habits and customs. Being an expat makes it even more obvious that people tend to develop the weirdest rituals without any apparent reason. This short film took the idea of trading freedom for security, a well known topic in the world of computing, all the way through. It poses that this trade is in fact culture itself: we build structures just so we do not have to deal with the endless freedom that our mind in principle has. Obviously we can defend customs and culture by correctly stating that this provides for common ground and thus an interface between people that don’t know each other, just as having the police monitor the web probably makes the world safer. The question is, is this price not too high? Or at least to some? Sometimes I really think this human world is nice, but not really for me. I’m getting ever better at manoeuvering through our human world, but is that really what our lives should be about? Do some derive some form of accomplishment or pleasure from conforming to a culture?

Probably I’m overthinking things, and the body of habits known as culture is simply an evolved system to interoperate with others, next to intelligence the other defining characteristic of our species. Perhaps it’s similar to pondering the colors of flowers: they simply are (evolved from natural selection by insects).