Thursday, December 6, 2012

Culture is Symbolic

Symbolic thought is unique and crucial to humans and to cultural learning.Anthropologist Leslie White defined culture as

dependent upon symbolling----- culture consists of tools,implements,utensils,clothing,ornaments,customs,institutions,beliefs,rituals,games,works of art,language etc.


For White Culture originated when our ancestors acquired the ability to use symbols that is to originate and bestow meaning on a thing or event and correspondingly to grasp and appreciate such meanings.

A symbol is something verbal or nonverbal within a particular language or culture that comes to stand for something else.There is no obvious natural or necessary connection  between the symbol and what is symbolizes.

Language is one of the distinctive possessions of Homo Sapiens.No other animal has developed anything approaching the complexity of language.

Symbols are usually linguistic but there are also nonverbal symbols such as flags that stand for countries.For hundeds of thousands of years,humans have shared the abilities on which culture rests.These abilities are to learn,to think symbolically to manipulate language and to use tools and other cultural products in organizing their lives and coping with their environments.Every contemporary human population has the ability to use symbols and thus to create and maintain culture.No other animal has elaborated cultural abilities - to learn,to communicate and to store process and use information to the extent that Homo has.

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