Cultural identity shifts

Posted on July 28, 2009
Filed Under Culture, identity, occult culture, Taylor Ellwood | 2 Comments

I talked about family identity and  individual identity patterns in my last post, but in Outliers, Gladwell also discusses cultural patterns and heritage and how it can impact the way people work together, how well they learn particular subjects. Of course this has all been written about elsewhere as well, but the focus in Gladwell’s work is particularly relevant to my own identity work, because he discusses how cultural patterns of identity can be shifted by introducing alternate cultural patterns of identity, especially through language. The case study he provides, where Korean pilots were trained to speak English as the first part of a rigorous change in how they flew airplanes is really interesting, because it shows how the introduction of a different language successfully allowed the pilots to, while flying the airplane, get away from cultural memes that actually hindered their communication when flying the planes before. Basically written within any language is the cultural memes that accompany the language. If you want to change those cultural memes, or cultural identity, introducing another language, with its cultural identity can be a useful way to do so.

Language is the obvious route for this kind of identity work, but from personal experience, I’ve also found that studying another culture’s practices and integrating those practices (spiritual in my case) into your life can be a useful method of shifting your cultural identity. This is also true with subculture identities as well, and even “class” identities, though social class is just another form of subculture identity. If you can successfully integrate cultural practices from a different subculture identity than your own, you can use those practices to break out of your cultural identities. In fact, I think they could also be useful for helping you break out of family identity patterns. Certainly some of the wealth magic work has involved utilizing different cultural identity patterns from other subcultures outside of the ones I’m familiar with. Those identity patterns have been useful for changing many of my beliefs about finances, networking, small business development etc. Of course by using different cultural identities, I end up assuming those identities…but it’s also made it easier to resist family identity patterns that continue to believe in identity structures that are less healthy for my entrepreneurial work.

The cultural identity shift is a larger identity shift, a backdrop against which family and individual identity shifts also occur. They are easier to enact on a personal level than family identity shifts, because they don’t have the same type of history on a personal level. But I suspect they can help create momentum to enable family identity shifts as well. Unfortunately to prove some of that would ultimately involve several generations of family after myself and since I don’t plan to have kids, it may not be so easily proven. Regardless, I can at least continue to explore how my own integration of entrepreneurial cultural practices as well as Taoist and Buddhist cultural practices contributes to the shifting of identity patterns I desire to change.

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2 comments
lupabitch
lupabitch

*nods* Everything's connected, and significantly shaking up any portion of one's identity can have a massive effect on the rest. That's really interesting about the Korean pilots and language. You and i have experienced less dramatic shifts in perspective when we've changed the way we communicate--we still speak English, but we use it differently.

Good food for thought.

lupabitch
lupabitch

*nods* Everything's connected, and significantly shaking up any portion of one's identity can have a massive effect on the rest. That's really interesting about the Korean pilots and language. You and i have experienced less dramatic shifts in perspective when we've changed the way we communicate--we still speak English, but we use it differently.

Good food for thought.