The End of Culture?
2/21/2005 9:16:30 AM
(CST) - Michael Wells
I've begun to think that culture, as we know it, exists only as a result of relative social isolation. Japanese culture is distinct from Chinese, Thai, and Korean largely due to natural boundaries formed by oceans and mountains. This is largely the same in Europe. The Alps and waterways divide Europe into cultural regions quite directly. England is an island, with a unique culture. France and Italy are separated by water and the Alps and Pyrenees. Eastern European countries have a generally consistent enculturation.
With the growth of the Internet, telephone services, air travel, tourism, and the "global village", those physical barriers are easily overcome and society is no longer contained by them.
For distinctive cultures, I suspect this is the end. Cultures will become homogenized as cultures interact more. The recent growth of East-West cultural relations is a very significant point. Eastern cultures have been flooded by hollywood and are now beginning to respond with their own art, which will in turn affect other cultures.
In as little as 50 years, it may be difficult to find meaningful culture as we know it today.