This was said during my Introduction to Anthropology class earlier today. Usually, I don’t find much challenging from that class, a lot of the things seem to be common sense, or I already had encountered the material with my mom (she’s an anthropologist) at some point in my life. But today, during discussion about the cultural dimension of the study of anthropology, we were given the statement, “culture enables humans to survive.”
Being more interested in the cultural quarter of anthropological studies (rather than the biological, archeological, or linguistic parts), I caught this comment and pondered it during the remainder of the class.
At first glance, this statement seems to be untrue. Why do we need culture to survive? Why do I need art, music and literature to have a decent life? Long before these social inventions, people seemed to get along just fine. Traditions are nice in all, but are they really absolutely necessary?
Well, in the deeper sense of anthropology, culture is more than just art, music and literature. It is what we do every day, how we do it, and most importantly, why we do it. Culture explains why we have three meals a day and what time they are (compared to others), why we dress in a certain way, why we practice certain beliefs and traditions, etc.Without the culture that contributes to our daily lives, we would not be able to effectively live.