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Saturday, April 22, 2006

One life. One planet.

This project blog is soon coming to a close, seeing as summer time is almost here. Over the course of this semester, I've covered many issues - issues concerning both individual and broader cultural identities (not neccessarily saying that there's a difference between the two). What I've discovered, is that I have more obsevations, opinions to voice, and, well, just a bit more knowledge than I actually knew I had.

I've discussed issues that influence a human's "individual culture," and have have analyzed many people and occurences in the world around me; but, in comparison, I've said little about "my" individual culture, or, rather, what I see my culture becoming in the future. And, to tell the truth, It's not really something I'm sure about.

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The one aspect of my culture which is definite, is that it's constantly expanding - expanding in many many ways usually, although sometimes shrinking too. By that, I mean that I'm always learning more, and making more contacts. Yet, as time goes by, even though I incessantly gain more interests, friends, and knowledge, I also occassionally loose interests, or forget knowledge. And that, I guess, is because people have to find what suits them best, then focus on those sources from which they draw the most inspiration, or can relate to and apply to their own lives the most.

For example, when I was young I wanted to grow up to own a candy store. (But, that's not what I'm majoring in at college.) The country I wanted to see most was India (now I have about ten that could tie for first place on my top priority "list to visit"). I used to know some basic Spanish, but have quite learning it, somewhere along the way, and have forgotten much of it. (Now I'm debating whether I'll take it up again and become fluent, or start trying to learn a whole different language, or do both!)

I'm trying to think of which place, in the the U.S. or otherwise, I could see my self spending the most time in the future. If I were to ever live on the West coast, then it would be in my best interest to brush up on Spanish. If I could see myself spending substantial time in any part of Europe, then it would be best to learn a European language. It's a tough question, since I really have NO idea where I'll be after college. I'd considered teaching English in Japan for a while. And, though I have many Japanese friends, after thinking it over long and hard, Japan wouldn't quite be the right environment for me (to live in anyway - although I'd love to visit). I've been thinking that perhaps it would be more interesting to explore something a bit closer to my heritage, though, like a Czech/Slovak or Scandinavian country. Or, maybe I'll explore some new places, that I havn't yet formed an interest in, thus far.

Rather than try to define my CURRENT culture - I think It'd be more effective to list many of the things that significantly contribute to it.

First of all, is family contributions. Together, my parents are mostly Norweigan, Czechoslovakian and Polish, with a hint of German and Sweedish. Most of the heritage influenced cultural traditions I grew up with are Norweigan ones. That doesn't mean, however, that I'm uninterested in the other parts of my heritage. I'd really love to look much much further into the more Czeck/Slovak and Polish parts of my family's history, and really get to know that part better. (and learn more about those country's cultures) At Christmas my Aunt had been telling me about our Norweigan ancestors and something about their connection to the Slovakia/Russia border area. I'd like to hear more from her about that. . . Since my Mom's side is Norweigan, and my Dad's side is Slovakian, this suddenly revealealed connection highly intrigues me.

Secondly, college life influences my personal culture. I'm so fortunate to be a student and to have had the opportunity to learn all that I have. I've taken classes that expose me to knowkedge from all around the world. And, I've also made friends from all around the world. Through conversations with them, I've gained insighs into their cultures, and the issues facing their countries - and lots of other information that I otherwise never would've learned.

Lastly, my personal interests have influenced my culture - practically since the time of childhood. As a kid I was always interested in other peoples from around the world, and would dream of world travel for hours on end. I've always had a love of ancient things, and an itch to travel and explore. Maybe that's why I loved climbing trees, playing treasure hunt/buried treasure games with a hand drawn map, and why, in early middle school, I stayed up till all hours so I could watch Star Gate SG-1 and Relic Hunter. Oh yeah, and as a little little kid, I watched "Land of the Lost" (the 1991- not 1974! T.V. series) every Saturday morning.

Nowadays I. . . oh where could I start? I love tea and coffee from all over the world, am inspired by Asian philosophers like the Dalai Lama and Ghandi, absolutly love Irish music (like the Cranberries and Enya), like foreign films and historic movies, eat foreign foods, cheer for other countries in the olympics, collect post cards, listen to reggae, and that's just the beginning. Other cultures have also affected me in much deeper ways - sometimes to the point of where I begin to feel as though another culture were partially my own. The physical cultural environment that I was born into makes up but a fraction of what MY OWN culture truly is. Really, culture is something we're all free to choose. If something from one culture doesn't fulfill our needs, then we can replace it with - or add to it - something derived from another.

In conclusion, I hope everyone feels that each and every person can make a difference. We have one life, one planet, one universe, and each and every one of us needs make sure that we use all three wisely.

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No on ever gained true happiness by sustaining themselves on ideas of others alone. Our true moments of inner fulfillment com from the times when we can reach a self supplied realization, or else find our OWN meaning in the words of another. We can take an inspiring idea, apply it in a new or personalized way, and make it our own. we can take new ideas from others, combine/compare them with old ideas from others, as well as our own thoughts, and use it all to collectively heighten the clarity through which we view our world. That's what makes life so exiting. Our understanding of life is forevermore being deepened and redefined by, and through, the interaction of our mind with the world around us.

2 Comments:

At 3:01 PM, Blogger Sharon said...

Molly, you have brought up some very valid points. One thing that I would encourage you to do NOW, is visit with your parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles NOW about your heritage! I wish I had asked more questions while my grandparents were still alive. Now My parents are also gone... Once they are gone, who can answer your many questions?

 
At 11:12 AM, Blogger bernard n. shull said...

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