Of the many articles I have shared one that gets a lot of feedback from readers is the topic of enculturation. Enculturation, as defined by Wikipedia, is “the process by which people learn the requirements of their surrounding culture and acquire values and behaviors appropriate or necessary in that culture.” So, what a person is taught or what one assimilates from his or her environment determines who that person is and how s/he acts. Thus, where you are born, who your family, teachers, religion, philosophy, etc… are determine the person you become. I would like to break this down and more specifically ask you, Respected Reader, to determine who or what has motivated you to become a good (or “bad”) person that you are. A few enculturating perspective are offered.
- PARENTS: Were your parents a positive model for you? Did they teach and model a belief and life style that has served you well and helped you to become the good person that you are? Or not?
- SCHOOL: Did the schools that you attended teach you valuable lessons on how to become the best you could be? Were there particular persons or mentors that were impactful?
- RELIGION: (“An organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or group of gods” –Merriam-Webster). Notable religions include Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism. Were you brought up in a particular religion that was persuasive in presenting beliefs and conduct that has served you well? Or not? Was it one based on the positive motivator of love or one of fear? (Do you believe there is a Hell?)
- HUMANISM: (“A philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence over acceptance of dogma and superstition” – Wikipedia). Does religion no longer make sense to you and you find Humanism more fitting for your motivation to be a good person.
- RELATIONSHIPS: Perhaps a lover, friend, co-worker of your past or present brings forth some beliefs or practices that assist and motivate you to be the best person possible. Some credible research states that you are a composite of the five persons closest to you.
- MEDITATION: (“To engage in mental exercise for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness” – partial definition, Merriam-Webster). Meditation can foster a transcendent experience that elicits feelings of caring and connection. Perhaps you have found this meditation experience offering you this impetus.
- EXERCISE: Exercise changes your brain chemistry to a slower rhythm that brings forth a calmer and more peaceful state. It can enhance your sense of self worth thus bringing out a better you.
These seven factors all have impact on your enculturation – how you actively form yourself and/or are formed by them. An inquisitive person of heightened consciousness looks at these factors to see how they can be positive enculturating elements in your quest to be the best person you can be. Choose wisely!
“The unexamined life is not worth living” Socrates