49. Cultural Operating Systems – Thoughts on Designing Cultures

This (non-aca­d­e­mic) arti­cle cov­ers a lot of ter­ri­tory, noth­ing less than the “cul­tural oper­at­ing sys­tems” within which we live, how they have changed, and how they might be changed. There is a kind of arro­gance in toy­ing with the ele­ments of ‘big pic­ture’ issues like this. Nev­er­the­less every­one has sub­merged opin­ions or prej­u­dices or assump­tions on how it all works. By drag­ging his own sub­con­scious dregs into the light of day, this writer nei­ther hopes nor expects to change the world. Rather, this is an open invi­ta­tion for any reader to reflect and match their ideas against those of oth­ers.

1. Rev­o­lu­tion as cat­a­stro­phe: When it comes to kingly mat­ters, the dis­tance between the ruler and the ruled has rarely been doubted by either party, though in the cold light of day, both are nor­mally loath to change places. The French rev­o­lu­tion, and the Rus­sian rev­o­lu­tion to fol­low, not to men­tion com­mu­nist China’s ver­sion of rev­o­lu­tion, the Irani theo­cratic rev­o­lu­tion, America’s ‘shock and awe’ ver­sion of democ­racy in Iraq, and any num­ber of other pirou­ettes, have all been awful reminders that instant changes in the body politic are an open sesame to the most mur­der­ous brutes in the asy­lum. Rev­o­lu­tions of the swash­buck­ling vari­ety make nice TV epics, but for mere humans they are usu­ally a retreat to bar­barism.

When your team loses the match a nat­u­ral and instant reac­tion is to want the coach’s head on a plat­ter. Win and he is a hero to the crowds. Maybe that is why kings have been fond of wars, but uneasy about their heads when the lights are low. Arm­chair gen­er­als (coaches, kings…) are legion, but truly capa­ble lead­ers on the ground are always few, and often acci­den­tal choices. Not every­one is born with a field marshal’s baton in his knap­sack.

Marie Antoinette, wife of France’s inef­fec­tual Louis XVI, was accused by the gut­ter press and there­after ever remem­bered for haugh­tily dis­miss­ing the peas­ants: “let them eat cake”, the lady is sup­posed to have said. After all, that’s what she did, while she had a head. In the sober record of aca­d­e­mic his­tory, she seems to have been a more prac­ti­cal per­son than that. It didn’t and doesn’t mat­ter. Prej­u­dice, rumours, slo­gans, epi­thets and metaphors have always been tools used by the ambi­tious to blind­side the gullible. The mythol­ogy becomes more impor­tant than the facts. Nowa­days we call that spin. But what mat­ters most is that the peo­ple who replaced Louis XVI, the pre­tend ide­al­ists, had char­ac­ters more sor­did than his own. And that cycle is a never end­ing story.

2. Heaven in your own image: Equally apoc­ryphal to Marie Antoinette’s false but telling epi­thet, some­what ear­lier Louis XIV of France was sup­posed to have said “l’etat c’est moi” (“I am the state”). This too has been dumped on by the his­to­ri­ans, again argu­ing for the irrel­e­vance of his­to­ri­ans to prac­ti­cal events. The phrase cap­tures some­thing uni­ver­sal. At least Louis had a reign of 72 years to work things out his way. Pity the scions of democ­racy who are lucky to get a par­lia­men­tary term or two.

Real dic­ta­tors assume their embod­i­ment of the nation as a kind of job descrip­tion: “..at the 1934 Nurem­berg Rally, Rudolf Hess ended his cli­mac­tic speech with, “The Party is Hitler. But Hitler is Ger­many, just as Ger­many is Hitler. Hitler! Sieg Heil!” [Wikipedia]. Nev­er­the­less, illu­sions of re-mak­ing a cul­ture in one’s own image have not only been the ter­ri­tory of despots. Jesus Christ had the same idea, along with Mahatma Gandhi, the world gallery of national lead­ers at any moment in time, count­less com­pany pres­i­dents, and also every tribe of ide­o­log­i­cal enthu­si­asts in his­tory. Of course, it never works out that way. The prob­lem is that peo­ple are not quite clones of the same design, and cer­tainly not all clones of the ruth­less and the lucky who get to the top of their local greasy poles. You might get the crowd to shout ‘Sieg heil!’ at a rally one day, but they’ll just as hap­pily cheer at a foot­ball match. They are as fickle as sum­mer fash­ion. Mum­mies and dad­dies too would gen­er­ally like to pro­duce clones of them­selves (being mor­tal), and only partly suc­ceed, which explains very well why any col­lec­tion of peo­ple remain so stub­bornly dif­fer­ent in the details. After all, their own mum­mies and dad­dies were also dif­fer­ent, more or less.

3. Clonesville: Well, we may have dif­fer­ences, but we are also all the same in cer­tain ways. In fact, big bunches of us seem to be “the same” in ways that are dif­fer­ent from other big bunches of humans. Aver­age folk have no trou­ble decid­ing that “your aver­age Amer­i­can white/black/Hispanic per­son is like this or that”. Or that “the peo­ple in China/Italy/Sweden/Timbuktu are dif­fer­ent from us because of XYZ”. Aver­age folk are sort of right in a more or less aver­age way, but when it gets down to the nitty-gritty of that guy stand­ing on the street cor­ner over there, well these aver­age opin­ions are so often wrong that it is embar­rass­ing. It is also dan­ger­ous some­times. Peo­ple fight wars over this stuff. So what is a cul­ture any­way?

4. For the bean coun­ters: For a sta­tis­ti­cian, a cul­ture is a col­lec­tion of bell-curve graphs. If you take any pop­u­la­tion, say all the kids in a school, mea­sure their heights and graph it, you will find a few were very short for that group, a few were very tall, and a big lump of them spread out from the aver­age height on the graph. That is, their height dis­tri­b­u­tion would form a graph shaped like a bell. You might find the same about all the trees in a forest, or the recov­ery time for bro­ken bones for hos­pi­tal patients. In other words, this kind of dis­tri­b­u­tion is nor­mal in nature. 

Now you might want to tell me that all Aus­tralians love meat pies (maybe you knew a cou­ple of Aus­tralians once who ate them). If we actu­ally did a sur­vey though, we’d surely find that a few Aus­tralians couldn’t tol­er­ate meat pies, large num­bers would eat a meat pie if it was put in front of them (with vary­ing degrees of enthu­si­asm), and a few Aus­tralians would crave them as the peak of culi­nary delight. In other words, our sta­tis­ti­cian would wind up with another bell curve graph. If we picked a hun­dred attrib­utes that are sup­posed to define “Aus­tralian cul­ture” and actu­ally tested them against a pop­u­la­tion of Aus­tralian peo­ple, we would also fin­ish up with a col­lec­tion of bell-curve graphs. 

5. To gen­er­al­ize or not to gen­er­al­ize: Sta­t­ics, num­bers, have a dan­ger­ous anonymity. What­ever they orig­i­nally rep­re­sented can be eas­ily put aside. If we take all the mea­sure­ments for dif­fer­ent “Aus­tralian attrib­utes” and put them together we will, of course, obtain the grand­daddy of all bell curve graphs, and per­haps kid our­selves that it defines what it is to be Aus­tralian. Maybe this is what aver­age folk do unsys­tem­at­i­cally and intu­itively when they arrive at their con­fi­dent def­i­n­i­tion of what a Chi­nese / Aus­tralian / Korean / Saudi etc. “is”. Maybe we have to do this kind of thing to func­tion at all com­pe­tently in out daily lives – reduc­ing things to gen­er­al­i­ties is absolutely essen­tial – but when it comes to under­stand­ing that par­tic­u­lar guy stand­ing over there across the street, well it’s down­right risky. Heck, I’m an Aus­tralian, have eaten about two meat pies in my life, can’t throw a boomerang, and end­lessly dis­agree with my coun­try­men. Am I mad and bad? Per­haps. Then again, those out­siders on the skirts of the bell curve also include our geniuses, prophets and inno­va­tors. In the next gen­er­a­tion, they could be stand­ing now where the herd will fol­low.

Gen­er­al­iza­tion is more than a per­sonal whim. Gen­er­al­iza­tion amount­ing to prej­u­dice is also the stuff of law and gov­ern­ment. Vil­lage or even tribal law had the advan­tage of deal­ing with small groups of peo­ple who were usu­ally fairly homoge­nous in cul­tural out­look and needs. The chance of legal mis­fit was there­fore rel­a­tively small (if jus­tice was the objec­tive). Mod­ern states are huge affairs deal­ing with vast num­bers of peo­ple of every imag­in­able need, type and cir­cum­stance. One con­se­quence is the stu­pid appli­ca­tion of laws which might have seemed sen­si­ble pro­vi­sions to well-inten­tioned but nar­rowly informed leg­is­la­tors. The law in the hands plod­ding bureau­crats and police­men is often a tale told by an idiot when applied rigidly across the nation. For exam­ple I am just about to be expelled per­ma­nently from China (2010)for the shock­ing crime of turn­ing 65 years of age. Appar­ently by legal def­i­n­i­tion I am decrepit and dis­pos­able. Actu­ally I run 5km a day, lift weights, have a PhD in lan­guage teach­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity, 34 years of expe­ri­ence teach­ing Eng­lish lan­guage & lin­guis­tics, as well as teacher train­ing, and am extremely pop­u­lar with stu­dents. None of this counts. If I per­sisted in my pro­fes­sion here I would be forced into a shad­owy, ille­gal world of bor­der hop­ping and bribes. 

6. Health warn­ing: All that pre­ceded this sen­tence was per­fectly ratio­nal. It is also not the way we usu­ally talk about culture(s) in our daily lives. We are only selec­tively ratio­nal crea­tures. “Truth” lies in the foun­da­tions (premises) we choose for any descrip­tion of “the real world”. There­fore, all that fol­lows is my own opin­ion­ated opin­ion, which you may wish to chal­lenge with great indig­na­tion since there is every chance that it will not fit your own prej­u­dices / intu­itions / tiny expo­sure (as we all have) to the total­ity of attrib­utes that might define any par­tic­u­lar human cul­ture. This is Thor May’s bit of writ­ing, so you are stuck with mak­ing as much sense as you can from his warped expe­ri­ence of the world.

7. Cul­tural designs (accord­ing to Thor May): Let us assume that you can talk about a “cul­ture” as hav­ing a uni­fied life of its own, just as we talk about a per­son, Jack Smith. Both may have a mass of inter­nal con­tra­dic­tions, con­flicts and frailties, but we nev­er­the­less find it pro­duc­tive to iden­tify each as a liv­ing sys­tem which is some­how dis­tinct from all other liv­ing sys­tems.

Taken as uni­fied sys­tems, all cul­tures have great strengths and also fatal weak­nesses of design. The strengths (or con­sis­ten­cies) enable them to sur­vive exter­nal and inter­nal threats. How­ever, in peri­ods of stress, the design weak­nesses can destroy exist­ing com­mu­ni­ties or nations. For exam­ple, it wasn’t an acci­dent that the Nazis were able involve mil­lions of Ger­mans in self-destruc­tion, or that old Mao Zedong was able to involve a whole gen­er­a­tion of young Chi­nese in the ter­ri­ble self-muti­la­tion of the so-called Cul­tural Rev­o­lu­tion (1966–1976).

8. The Aus­tralian sam­ple: Aus­tralian cul­ture, my own origin, is a curi­ous mix, evolv­ing all the time, and now con­tain­ing almost 200 source nation­al­i­ties. The place had a hor­ri­ble begin­ning as a prison camp in 1788 (i.e. the Euro­pean ver­sion of Aus­tralia). It evolved into one of the bet­ter show­cases for demo­c­ra­tic gov­ern­ment. How­ever, there are a few real Aus­tralian com­mu­nal weak­nesses. At least, it looks that way to me, hav­ing lived out­side the place as an expa­tri­ate. In Aus­tralia there are often big ideas and small deliv­ery. In other words, there is a fear of risk, both per­sonal and insti­tu­tional. Maybe that comes from hav­ing a small, mostly urban pop­u­la­tion in a huge land. Also, it is pretty hard any­where to find heroes ready to risk their mort­gage and a nice insti­tu­tional job (a stan­dard Aus­tralian urban pat­tern). Foot­ball heroes are admired in the safe arena of TV spec­ta­tor sports, but risk tak­ers in the daily work­place, or in pol­i­tics, are not pop­u­lar.

Exhibit A: A very sad exam­ple of timid­ity is the Aus­tralian nation’s fail­ure to cap­i­tal­ize on all kinds of use­ful inven­tions. Ven­ture cap­i­tal is thin on the ground, and it is almost con­ven­tional wis­dom now that Aus­tralian inven­tors are fated to sell out their intel­lec­tual bril­liance to for­eign investors. Some­thing sim­i­lar goes for the acad­emy and arts. The phrase, “never a prophet in his own coun­try” could have been invented for Aus­tralia. Lead­ing sci­en­tists, writ­ers, actors etc. almost instinc­tively plan to emi­grate.

Exhibit B: Pol­i­tics. Aus­tralians have always shrunk from let­ting a vision­ary loose with the national estate. That has def­i­nite advan­tages in a sleepy, provin­cial sort of way. It also means that it takes forever to get things done, and leaves lots of room for scoundrels to slip in under the radar. For exam­ple, a trig­ger for cur­rent elec­toral dead­lock (2010) was that the fed­eral admin­is­tra­tion toyed with the idea of impos­ing a resources tax on multi­na­tional min­ers (shiploads of Aus­tralia leave Aus­tralia 24/7, des­ti­na­tion the smelters of China, Japan etc.). The tax was a rea­son­able propo­si­tion. Pre­sum­ably Aus­tralian cit­i­zens should stand to ben­e­fit from the export of large chunks of their ter­ri­tory. The min­ers, who are basi­cally inter­na­tional buc­ca­neers, funded a series of scare cam­paign adverts on TV, com­pletely men­da­cious, and the turkey elec­tors shook in their shoes. 

Exhibit C: With timid devel­op­ment, Aus­tralian infra­struc­ture is not only hor­ren­dously expen­sive, it now almost a gen­er­a­tion behind that in South Korea (and even parts of China). 80% of the pop­u­la­tion cringe on the east­ern coastal strip, defined by the Great Divid­ing Range right down the east­ern seaboard , where their life ambi­tion is to end­lessly bid up real estate prices. A dynamic, tougher pop­u­la­tion would have punched tun­nels through those moun­tains long ago, and begun to estab­lish some cred­i­ble claim to regions fur­ther west. Where is Australia’s Chicago? (Yeah, I know, “where are Australia’s Great Lakes?” too, but that is part of the chal­lenge). Maybe Aus­tralian life has been too easy and too lucky for too long! I worry what will hap­pen if Aus­tralians ever face real threats to their exis­tence.

9. The East Asian sam­ple: The term “East Asia” is a very large chunk of gen­er­al­iza­tion indeed. Still, hav­ing hung out in that part of the world for over a decade, I’m human enough to have formed my own “post-judices”, (as opposed to prej­u­dices). My post-judices are a work in pro­gress (like the cul­tures them­selves), and always open to con­tra­dic­tion, but you need to make assump­tions of some kind to func­tion. So here goes, the big pic­ture. East Asian cul­tural weak­nesses are much older, more embed­ded and more com­plex than the Aus­tralian vari­ety.

10. Your face or mine? : The biggest “crack in the glass” I see is what is called “che­myeon” in Korean, “mainzi” in Chi­nese, or “face” in Eng­lish. I under­stand the his­tor­i­cal rea­sons for the impor­tance of chemyeon/mianzi. How­ever, it is a cul­tural design for a dif­fer­ent age. As an edu­ca­tor, I’ve been dri­ven by direct obser­va­tion to con­clude that chemyeon/mianzi is a seri­ous enemy of true learn­ing, inno­va­tion and change. Of course, the sheer rate and scale of change in these soci­eties is graphic proof that other forces can also over­come or even har­ness the ‘face’ moti­va­tor in var­i­ous ways, but these are tac­ti­cal rather than strate­gic maneu­vers. I remain con­vinced that sub­du­ing the ‘face’ thing is a key to a more human­ized civ­i­liza­tion, partly because the ulti­mate engine behind face is self­ish­ness. Yes, I know that is not how it is ratio­nal­ized… I could write a book about this, but you guys would just call me a stu­pid for­eigner ^_^ …. .

11. The pub­lic per­son: A close sec­ond on my list of East Asian down­ers (not unre­lated to the face issue) would be the wide­spread lack of pub­lic con­science, pub­lic cour­tesy and pub­lic trust towards any­one not within the charmed cir­cle of fam­ily and friends. This has had huge con­se­quences in com­plex mod­ern soci­eties, from China’s hor­ren­dous road toll (never give way, might is right) and often rapa­cious busi­ness prac­tices, to the much rel­ished sport of aca­d­e­mic cheat­ing by pro­fes­sors, teach­ers and stu­dents, to thought­less lit­ter­ing and queue jump­ing. It is an evolv­ing sit­u­a­tion, and I have seen changes even across the brief years of my per­sonal expe­ri­ence, but day to day things like this grate for those not inured from birth. Some of this stuff is touched on again below, but first it may be use­ful to toy a lit­tle with social-Dar­win­ism, and take a look back in the evo­lu­tion­ary scale.

12. The clan group sys­tem: The human species, for most of its exis­tence, has lived in small, mobile groups in hos­tile envi­ron­ments, con­stantly threat­ened with extinc­tion. It seems likely (if archae­ol­ogy, anthro­pol­ogy and his­tory can give us valid clues) that orig­i­nally these bands were typ­i­cally headed by an aggres­sive male who would use any tool, includ­ing betrayal and mur­der, to get an advan­tage over the other males in the group. This espe­cially gave him free sex­ual rights with many females. How­ever, the whole group would come together to fight off threats from the out­side, includ­ing war­fare with other groups com­pet­ing for food. If you study the behav­iour of chim­panzees (our near­est rel­a­tives in the ani­mal world) you will see a sim­i­lar pat­tern, both of com­pet­i­tive male dom­i­nance, and the sys­tem­atic abuse of females, with rape as a norm. 

Sur­viv­ing sub­sis­tence hunter-gath­erer groups today have for the most part mod­i­fied these pat­terns exten­sively, and some are very egal­i­tar­ian indeed. In fact, tech­nol­ogy and its trap­pings are a pretty poor guide to the social devel­op­ment of com­mu­ni­ties (which leads to much pop­u­lar con­fu­sion and prej­u­dice). If you look care­fully at any num­ber of “mod­ern” com­mu­ni­ties and nations you will see that the under­ly­ing pat­tern too often retains strong ele­ments of ape-like bar­barism. “Civ­i­lized” may be a term often used to denote the sup­pres­sion of ani­mal behav­iour pat­terns, but the insti­tu­tions of ‘civ­i­lized’ coun­tries just as often give an offi­cial bless­ing to man’s inhu­man­ity to man (and woman and child). 

Orga­nized reli­gions and ide­olo­gies are fre­quently used to jus­tify and enforce old ani­mal pat­terns and those ancient pri­or­i­ties of small clan sur­vival, no mat­ter what hon­eyed words the lawyers use. For most of recorded his­tory for exam­ple, reli­gious lead­ers (almost invari­ably old men) have ele­vated sex as an “evil” worse that vio­lence, and sanc­tioned the most appalling atroc­i­ties against promis­cu­ous women. Per­haps it is no acci­dent that cur­rent com­puter games and films are over­whelm­ingly dom­i­nated by vio­lence and destruc­tion, fre­quently involv­ing sex­ual sub­ju­ga­tion, while state based sanc­tions have his­tor­i­cally been obsessed with pun­ish­ing female sex­ual behav­iour. Most lead­ers of coun­tries, and many lead­ers of com­pa­nies, are still that aggres­sive, mur­der­ous male tribal leader. Objec­tively, nei­ther sex nor aggres­sion define us as human. Far more crit­i­cal are our abil­i­ties to nur­ture poten­tial, to learn, to adapt and to build, yet any adver­tiz­ing agency will tell you that these are hard sells to the pop­u­lar mind. 

13. Human sur­vival: Many, many peo­ple think the pat­terns in 12) can­not be changed. If you argue for a dif­fer­ent design, they will call you an “ide­al­ist”, and unre­al­is­tic. I am not an ide­al­ist, and cer­tainly not an ide­o­logue. I am a real­ist. The way I see it, the old tribal leader pat­tern (which more or less worked for small close-knit bands) will destroy the human race in a world of huge pop­u­la­tions and extra­or­di­nary indi­vid­ual human mobil­ity across groups, cul­tures and coun­tries.

14. Open and closed sys­tems: I like to com­pare cul­tures to com­puter oper­at­ing sys­tems. The think­ing behind them is much the same. You can have closed pro­pri­etary sys­tems, like the Apple Cor­po­ra­tion o/s. At their best, these closed sys­tems can achieve ele­gant solu­tions and be very attrac­tive. The other extreme is the Open Access o/s phi­los­o­phy, like Linux. Linux has end­less groups of enthu­si­asts. Many of the Linux dialects never achieve wide accep­tance. Some achieve com­mer­cial suc­cess and some become semi-pro­pri­etary. How­ever, while closed sys­tems like Apple’s can make money for a while, they are always at risk of going out of busi­ness (and I’ll bet you that when Steve Jobs goes, Apple will quickly be in deep trou­ble). The open sys­tems are messy, but they have tremen­dous strength. In some form, they will con­tinue. The Open move­ment will never die. Google is an astound­ing exam­ple of partly open sys­tem gen­eros­ity (together with some canny pro­pri­etary algo­rithms) suc­ceed­ing where its more closed pro­pri­etary com­peti­tors have faded.

15. New world cul­ture: Now let us take so-called “West­ern cul­ture”. Recently I debated with a Korean friend who was dubi­ous about South Korea’s faux west­ern baubles, and expressed some envy of the Japan­ese capac­ity for adapt­ing to exter­nal mar­kets with­out los­ing the Japan­ese essence. As Laozi, the ancient Chi­nese philoso­pher put it so long ago, water is admirable because it can adapt to the shape of its con­tainer, but doesn’t change its nature. I was less taken than my friend by this argu­ment for cul­tural purity. It is true, I put it to him, that the clothes you wear, the fill­ings in your teeth, the build­ings you live in, and even increas­ingly the food you eat are not ‘native Korean’. The water in the Korean con­tainer is already laced with other dyes. Is this bad? Imports are often said to be “Amer­i­can”, but that is only partly the case (and I think less and less true). You could think of “Amer­i­can cul­ture” as one par­tic­u­lar dialect of a new “world cul­ture”, just as Ubuntu is a kind of dialect of Linux. The more oth­ers join in with gen­eral world cul­ture, the less influ­ence the Amer­i­can form will have. 

This world cul­ture crosses the bar­rier of nat­u­ral lan­guages. You will find it amongst Ger­man speak­ers and Korean speak­ers, and Ara­bic speak­ers and Hindi speak­ers. You can now find this ‘world cul­ture’ from Lagos in Africa, to Moscow, to Syd­ney, to Buenos Aires, to New Delhi to Bangkok, and of course to Seoul. All of these places have their own dialects of the world cul­ture, but they also have a great deal in com­mon. The local pen­e­tra­tion of world cul­ture is also always var­ied amongst pop­u­la­tions (yet another bell curve). It is a more urban than rural phe­nom­e­non, but its pres­ence is inescapable. 

Those things regions across the world have in com­mon make it pos­si­ble for a man like me to be a ‘cit­i­zen of the world’, and more or less at home in any of these places. I love the vari­ety that each of the ‘cul­tural dialects’ offers me, but I also see great hope for human­ity in their shared base. Like the Open Sys­tems phi­los­o­phy of com­puter pro­gram­ming, I think this new world com­mon cul­ture has great strength and dynamism. Bet­ter, the very adap­ta­tions that enable it to cross old clan and cul­tural bar­ri­ers make it less sus­cep­ti­ble to the Ape-like pat­terns of male dom­i­nance bru­tal­ity and sex­ual aggres­sion (though not of course imper­vi­ous to them). I think the new par­a­digm can­not be eas­ily destroyed, although it may some­times be forced into tac­ti­cal retreats with the flux of world affairs. 

To those who wish to keep their “cul­tural oper­at­ing sys­tems”, like the Korean or Rus­sian or Thai or French, “pure”, closed, pro­pri­etary, with­out out­side influ­ence, I say you are in great dan­ger. Maybe your closed cul­tural sys­tem was ele­gant and refined. Maybe it has a glo­ri­ous past his­tory. But it ulti­mately comes from an ear­lier human civ­i­liza­tion of small, sav­age tribal groups. Now we humans are many, crowded on a small planet, and com­mu­ni­cat­ing with every­one instantly. We need a dif­fer­ent design, and that has to be an Open Sys­tem.

Thor May
Zhengzhou, China
5 Sep­tem­ber 2010


All opin­ions expressed are entirely those of the author, who has no aim to influ­ence, pros­e­ly­tize or per­suade oth­ers to a point of view. He is pleased if his writ­ing gen­er­ates reflec­tion in read­ers, either for or against the sen­ti­ment of the argu­ment.

______________________________________________________________Cul­tural Oper­at­ing Sys­tems ” © copy­righted to Thor May; all rights reserved 2010

e-mail Thor May : thor­may AT yahoo.com

This arti­cle has been sourced from “Thor’s Unwise Ideas” at http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/unwisendx.html where it is num­ber 49 in an ongo­ing series of reflec­tions.

Other arti­cles on http://thormay.net deal­ing with cross-cul­tures:


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