The LotteryenculturationUsually there is nothing "wrong" with unthinkingly responding in culturallyBeing Aware of Our Cultureacceptable ways. Yet we may ask ourselves again, to what extent am I thinkingAn individual exists inside a culture. The American Heritage Dictionary definesindependently of my culture? If Life is the process of responding to stimuli withoutculture, as it will be used in the context of critical thinking, as "The totality of sociallyquestioning why we respond the way we respond, then we may not be thinking in antransmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of humanindependent way much at all.work and thought characteristic of a community or population." Most of the time peopleSo what? Why does it matter? Why ask questions about why we do what we do?are unaware that they exist within a culture.Some of humanity’s earliest thinkers proposed that "the unexamined life is not worthCultural awareness is an essential step in self awareness, and both are essential toliving " Even if most people choose not to examine life, it is important to understand thateffective critical thinking It is only as one becomes aware of his or her culture that onewe cam, and further, it is important to understand that we will not be able to use criticalunderstands how the culture has affected his or her thinking. In fact, whether one realizesthinking effectively if we do not examine life. There are for more powerful argumentsit, one learns the content of his or her culture and internalizes, assimilates, or absorbsfor examining life, but for purposes of this course, the truth that we cannot employthe practices and values of the culture. This begins in infancy (some would argue it evencritical thinking without doing so will be enoughbegins before birth) and continues as long as one lives in the same culture. This processWhat does examining life in our culture have to do with being able to use criticalof absorbing the culture is known as enculturation.thinking effectively? One of the important things in critical thinking is to be objectiveIt is important for the critical thinker to ask him or herself how much of who he orIn order to do that, we need to be aware of our own biases and prejudices. We must bethe is comes from his or her culture, and how much comes from reasoning throughaware of the lenses through which we look that might slew reality. If we unthinkinglyinfluences and beliefs and making them truly his or her own. To what extent, one mayemploy the values and behaviors that our culture accepts, we will not be aware of thezak, is he or the merely a product of a cultural equation? Humans often do not reflect onbiases, prejudices, and distorting lenses that are built into our culture.why they believe or behave in certain ways, but simply respond to stimuli unthinkinglyHow do we know that these are built into our culture? Comparing cultures oftenbased on how they have responded in the past. How did they know to respond in thisreveals the answer. For example, are you aware that within the general culture of theway? Because their culture has taught them how to respond. We are taught to respond inUnited States of America there is an acceptable and unacceptable way that a humanways that are acceptable to our culture. We don’t have to think about it.should smell? Think about it. Most people in the USA have certain rituals they performeach day that affect the way they smell. Often, people will take a shower after awaking.




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