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Culture and Anticulture

When both sides of the political debate agree on something, it is often time to reconsider it with a contrarian spirit. Today everyone seem to agree that culture is good. Is it? It depends on what culture is. It is very easy to agree on something that can have lots of definitions.

The word `culture麓stems from Latin cultura, meaning something that is cultivated. The farming-and-vegetables-sense can be unambigously expressed as `agriculture麓, so that the culture without agri- could take a new meaning.

One reasonable definition is to say that the culture of a human society is that which humans within that society choose to do and produce spontaneously. This mirrors the agro- definition because, if you sow tomato seeds, add water and sunshine, you still don’t decide how that plant will look but the plant decides for it self based on its genes and what building blocks it finds in the soil.

People who don’t care to pick a definition tend to default to defining culture as that which government decides is culture. This is very much in contrast with the previous definition which required spontaneity on the part of individuals.

The figure below illustrates how two persons can misunderstand each other by using the two definitions above, respectively.

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