• Thought provoking Mathias. First I thought…No, Religion is, not culture. Giving it more thought, I tend to agree with you.

    • Ah, interesting, Patty. I think religion is a sub-set of beliefs within a culture, why where you’re coming from seems to be logic to me. Thank for that!

      • My pleasure. So, if I understand correct, religion is a part of a culture…but a culture doesn’t necessarily has to have a religion. Right?

      • Hi Party. Spontaneously I would say so too, yes. Religion might have been very important as a foundation of cultures. I think modern societies / cultures may differ in how much they adapt a religion and even how spiritual people are. However, I cannot imagine a newer days culture in which some religion or in minimum some magic, myth, or supernatural force was completely absent. But possibly we can say that there are today societies that are quite atheist and therefore not religious in that sense. What do you think?

    • Dear Patty. You deserve this award very well. I cannot emphasize enough how interesting, curious, critical thinking, kind, and helpful you are. Thanks a lot for mentioning me, the diverse discussions we have and for all your contributions to a better world! A factor for open-mindedness as you demonstrate it always again can also be the understanding and experience of different cultures. You also don’t live in your home country, so you probably needed to step out of your comfort zone, think differently, and broaden your horizon. I think the reward is absolutely in the right place with you:-). Wish you a wonderful day and till soon!

      • Thank you dear Mathias, I really appreciate your comment and compliments. It’s making me blush again 😉 I really value our connection and at the same time to learn from your insights. Have a wonderful weekend! XxX
        ps. Is it possible to see the Moon in Tokio? A great writer wrote a short story regarding that and know we both wondering…is it possible at all, between all the lights and I thought even the smog? https://richardankers.com/2017/03/20/50-word-stories-tokyo-nights/

      • Thank you, and you’re welcome! That’s what I mean; your input is inspiring, now the moon providing a philosophical opportunity! Indeed, sometimes the moon in Tokyo needs to be found behind the skyscrapers. Besides all the other lights the moon’s reflection doesn’t seem spectacular in the city. However, the moon is visible as there is, fortunately, no smog in Tokyo (in contrast to some big Chines or Indian cities for example) and many clear nights. And it is the same moon you see in Europe:-). Despite geographical and cultural differences, the sun, the moon, natural laws, love, kindness, life purpose, and mortality are the same everywhere:-)!!

      • Don’t forget I got inspired by Richard 😉
        Ah, indeed fortunately no smog over there! And how can I not love your thoughts expressed in the last sentence. I won’t come as a surprise; I feel the same way 😉
        Thanks again Mathias! XxX

  • That’s an interesting interpretation, Mathias. I had always understood culture as group identity defining the individual. But, of course, it can be a two-way street or a dialectical process where individuals can also change/direct/influence the larger culture through their unique contributions.

    • Great point, thank you, Annette, for your stimulating comment. I agree with your conclusion; I believe we have a significant influence on culture. We also could resist culture (as painful as it may be). That’s why our personality is not taken, but we are offering it. We still can (and should!) keep our own personality. Both sides of the message are crucial. We possess a capacity of free will. Therefore we have a responsibility to be mindful of our contributions, not because our personality (e.g., kindness) would be a scarce resource, but because if we “send” negative or no ‘vibes’, not only we, but the whole collective and consequently other individuals will be negatively impacted. Culture may shape us, but everyone is part of culture too: In The Vocation of Man (1800), Fichte says that “You could not remove a single grain of sand from its place without thereby … changing something throughout all parts of the immeasurable whole.” So, we should be conscious of the consequence of not offering our personality to group identity.

      • So we could see this as a dialectical process? And there are probably societies and cultures that are much more stern in demanding individual allegiance, while others can tolerate greater variability and creative self-expression.

      • Yes, I think it is a process of mutual influence, rejection, and acceptance. You’re right in describing some main differences between more individualist (western) and collectivist (eastern) cultures. However, whatever the outer appearance, we still can maintain an inner independence, and while adhering (more or less) to social norms we still can assume full self-reliance and be true to ourselves in many ways. Admittedly, if the conflict between outer and inner world creates dilemmas big enough, we can compromise on our inner calling, but we may also take action against the social norm to (re-) establish personal integrity. What are your point of view / experiences regarding such an understanding of self-reliance, and even self-actualization?