I don’t need culture, I’m civilized

Author: Mohammed Nazari

In order to clarify, the meaning of "Culture" in this writing is: Acquiring certain behaviors, customs and beliefs that are copied from the past without them being supported by science or by statistics.

As well the meaning of "Civilization" in this writing is: the ability to live within society in harmony, understanding your own rights and respecting other’s, and the fact that the society keeps changing which may require changes in each individual.

Culture, at times destroys the concept of living in harmony by diminishing advancements and limiting our freedom.

Having variety in music, food, and dance is fun, however variety in beliefs and principles can be dangerous.

While culture is a thing of the past and dead (with no changes), civilization is current and progressive.

For example, look at the third world countries; often they have a rich culture that they are very proud of and often, ready to FIGHT for.

How often have you seen educated and practical people fight over their scientific beliefs? One surgeon believing his surgical technique being better than the other? Or the mechanic or carpenter believing his mechanical or carpentry skills are better than the other? Often they can simply prove their point by actions and statistics, without getting emotional about it. Although, when it comes to beliefs with no scientific or statistical backing, the only way to back it up is with emotion, and emotions can get heated for no reason. Look at how many wars we’ve had revolved around baseless beliefs.

Once a friend of mine, who is Muslim, invited me for supper. About 10 other people were there, most of them rather religious. To be honest I was there mainly for the food. His wife is a very good cook. The host and one of the guests, who were from two different parts of the same country, had slightly different culture some disagreement over the Islamic rules in regards to women covering their body and how much. one of them was more conservative than the other.

As far as I am concerned, if she is cute, she doesn't have to cover:)

Each of them kept trying to force their belief on the other, finally they resorted/relied on verses from the Quran. Interestingly enough both said the same verse however when it came to translating it, each had their own version. It seemed that God had difficulty conveying his message clearly!

Since neither of them could be reasonable and practical about this, they continued getting louder and louder. In these type of discussions, the loudest wins. I could never understand what they were talking about anymore, I am sure each party could not hear what the other had to say, they just shouted.

They followed their own culture, which was not backed up by any specific reasoning and were not civilized enough to respect the other parties opinions and rights. Both wanted to say that they follow Islam, believing Islam and only Islam has the right answer.

When supper came, things calmed down. Food was great as expected.

In order to avoid the same conversation, I asked a professional question. Both parties were professionals with high university degrees. Interestingly enough the conversation was very calm, each expressed their opinion and one listening to the other very inquisitively since he was more specialized with more expertise in the field.

It was very obvious that when there is logic and science involved people don't get emotional, as much and vice versa, the beliefs with no logical or scientific backing, where both or all parties can be wrong, can get heated.

Another example is once when in Vancouver, I went to a local Iranian grocery store to buy some tuna. They taste awesome. The tuna that I used to buy at Canadian stores tasted like cat food, making me want to Mew:) Very quietly I asked the store clerk what the Iranian year was, I was making sure that the Tuna was not expired.

We don’t have any stores like that in Regina where I live. I was not aware of the number of the Iranian calendar year. Yes the Iranian calendar year is not the same as it is in the west. In Iran we used to use the Kingdom Ship Year, which is more than 2500 years, from the date Persian kingdom ship/emperor started. After the revolution this changed to the Islamic calendar, which is more than 1400 years old, starting from the year that Prophet Mohammed, moved from Mecca to Medina.

A man who was in line, a few people behind me got mad that I did not know the number of Iranian calendar year and in a complaining and bullying voice said, "Have you now forgotten your past and lost your culture, you don’t even know the Iranian calendar year." I was shocked however quickly responded, “Thank you for noticing, yes I lost my culture, and became civilized. You haven’t lost your culture though, that’s why you allow yourself to listen to my conversation and interfere in my affair. It is none of your business.”

To him remembering the calendar year meant that I have lost my culture and gave him the right to interfere in my affair which is seeing very frequently in any culture.

When having a culture you are supposed to think and behave in a cliché manner that “the culture” says you should, otherwise others have the right to judge you. They won’t ask “why you did or do differently” and rather make their own assumption and "tell" you “this is why you are doing what you are doing” and regardless, you are considered wrong since it is out of the culture and the routine that you should have followed.

I recommend, if interested ask “why” and don’t make your own comments or judge as to why someone should behave the way they do that may seem different than your usual.
As the whole world gets more scientific and objective, there will be less wars and I believe soon enough we will not have any borders and share the same currency and laws and beliefs, with more freedom and harmony.

 What is your experience, do you know cases where individuals, groups, cults or countries fight over baseless beliefs? Have others imposed their baseless beliefs on you or do you do that to others?