Cultural Impact on Human Being
| E: Hi! Welcome to 'Let's Talk'. Today we have a very interesting topic for you. And that is that fact that we're the products of our culture.
R: Yes. Today we're doing a little bit of psychology. That's a big word for you look it up if you don't know it. And we're talking about people and how we related to each other in our cultures.
E: If fact the people who study cultures say that 'Cultures give us a set of classes.' They give us a way to look at the world. They give us a set of rules how we do things, what counts as polite, and what counts as impolite comes to us from our culture.
R: And really if you think about it why do we behave the way we behave. Where do we learn these rules? Because every country is not alike and I'm sure that you realize that. Even every family is not alike. We learn to behave and learn and get our glasses mostly from our families and from the institutions that we're around from our neighborhood and from our friends and schools and the countries we lived in. That culture gives you your glasses and it gives you the rules what's right what's wrong.
E: For example, even what you eat and what you say when you greet people. And things like what you can talk about. In some countries you can talk about your salary, and in other countries it's not nice to talk about your salary.
R: Or even whom you can talk to. I know some countries are very careful that women speak to women and men talk to men. Children may not speak to adults they don't know. You know those are very strict rules. And you grow up with some you probably never thought about. You learn how to behave and how to tell a joke and what's funny. That's another one.
E: Yeah. That's a big one because nobody never laughs at other culture's jokes, do they.
R: Humor doesn't translate they say. And those are your set of glass and the other people are wearing them. You know a good example is how close you can stand to someone else.
E: In some cultures you can't stand very close you have to be quite long distance away. And in other cultures you can be here and I can talk to you here and you can feel very comfortable. But in fact it's just depend on what you grown up with. When you were little baby and little child people talk to you that close then that's feel right to you. Or if you stand back and that feels right to you well that was taught to you by your culture.
R: And the interesting thing about that is once you've learned it, you never think about it again. You never think and question it you don't make that decision again. You know it's right. It's right for you. The only time you might consider it wrong is if someone does it wrong to you. If someone comes to close and you think 'go away.' TV is funny that way. In TV we have to be very close.
E: I don't mind Rebecca.
R: And that open your eyes and make you realize 'Oh, this person's culture is closer than mine.'
E: But actually just think what if you have to make these decisions every time you talk to someone. If you tell yourself 'How far should I be standing from this person.' And if every time if you wanna to talk to someone you have to ask yourself that question you'll go crazy.
R: Yeah. Your mind is full of day's work so you can't make these decisions over and over.
E: So our brain is very kind to us. It adjusts to something and it says it is normal and then you don't think about it again. And you don't have to think about 'Oh, am I doing the right things.'
R: And you know it is important what you've just said. Our brain does settle into a pattern, what you think is normal and acceptable. But we can adjust. I know when I came to China I've adjusted to a lot of things that was new to me. My culture was not used to something that I came here. And you can adjust.
E: What have you adjusted?
R: I know one thing that is new for me is my Chinese friends love to have big crowds of people if fact recently I was doing Taiji with friends and trying yoga with friends. And there are Chinese friends and foreign friends and they feel that we should do it with more and more people, more people is better. And at home I go jogging all by myself, one person.
E: Don't you love it here?
R: Yeah. But I got used to many many people doing things together. Because that is Chinese culture, more people together eating, exercising or singing or what ever is better. I was used to just jogging alone, singing alone.
E: Yeah. We also have to get used to Chinese food. Before I came to China I've never eaten a lot of food that I eat here. But I like them all, I mean I try them all, there aren't many things that I don't eat. Just as westerner I never eat dog meat. And I don't like 臭豆腐. But other than that it's ok. So your brain can redo it. And you can get used to a new culture very easily. Well we hope you'll think about this. And we hope that you'll send us a letter. Perhaps you've had a foreign friend. And you've noticed some different about their set of rules and the way that they look at life. Let us know that you think.