The Significance of Culture
Only culture accounts for the success of human beings. We create culture, but ‘ culture in turn creates us. We are no longer the helpless victims of the natural environment. We make our own social environment, inventing and sharing the rules and patterns of behaviour that shape our lives. We use our knowledge to modify the natural environment as well. Without a culture transmitted from the past, each new generation would have to solve the most elementary problems Of human existence over again. It would be obliged to devise a family system, to invent a language, to discover fire, to create the wheel, and so on. Cultural inventions enable us to be insulated from the cold of the Arctic, to travel in outer space, and to live in submarinesall with|ut any recourse to physical evolution. Unlike other animals, we can self-consciously adapt to our environments and can adapt the environment to meet our needs.. We have the biological capapity to speak, but which language we use and how we use it depends on our cultural environment. We have the biological capacity to laugh, to cry, to blush, to become angry, but the circumstances under which we might do any of these things are learnt in society.
Culture enables us to invent and learn ways of adapting to our environments and changing situations. All other animals must rely on the slow and accidental process of biological evolution to adapt them to the environment, but human beings can adapt quickly to radically different environments. Human nature is what we make of it, and what we make of it depends on the. culture in which we happen to live. One of the aspects, of the sociological” perspective is that it exposes myths about our social behaviour, and shows that what seems natural , or instinctive, is a cultural product of human society. In short, culture is the secret of our success.