Modern and Primitive Cultures

People have to have a relationship with other people and the nature. It is necessary for the people. People who share a common place or acommon language also share a common culture. A professor is named Deikman said that “Culture is the customs, ideas, andattitudes shared by a group, transmitted from generation by generation bylearning processes rather than biological inheritance; adherence to thesecustoms and attitudes is regulated by a system of rewards and punishmentspeculiar to each culture.” (P. 159). Deikman said a group because everypeople in the world is belongs to different societies.

Their language,their customs or their ideas are different from each other. According toprofessor, Deikman culture is transmitted by environment rather thanheredity.For instance the people who live in South-East Asia solve theirproblems by environmental solution (Widdicombe, p.159). In other words itshows the importance of the environment for the people. The people believethat the environment keeps their ideas or their soul. When they have acomplex problem they only must look the environment because solution is inthe environment. “Professor Deikman’s definition is simple but itsapplication can be complicated.

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There are many, many gradations of groupsconstituting a culture and many degrees of differentiation within whatmight be considered one cultural group” (Widdicombe, p. 159-161). Somecultures in the world can be more contemporary. It is due to the time andthe place where people live. But generally we can talk about two kinds ofcultures. These are modern and primitive cultures. If we want tounderstand what a primitive culture is, we have to look at history? “Thearchaic cultures -the cultures of the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, andNeolithic ages- are also referred to as primitive” ( Inaddition, we can see some special feature of primitive cultures in themodern age. For instance, the African people still live like theirprimitive ancestors. They still live in the forest and wear old clothes,which were worn by their ancestors. Modern cultures are cultures, whichhave contemporary living conditions. In other words Europe and America aretwo rich countries, which are modern cultures. The social and religiousand, economical lives of the primitive culture may seem more interestingthan the social, religious and economical lives of the modern cultures.

However if we investigate carefully we can find some similarities betweentwo cultures. The social life of the primitive cultures was based on the family,laws and classification. Father, mother and children constituted thefamily. However in some primitive cultures, the mission of father and themission of mother were different. While father was staying at home and waslooking children mother went out and worked to earn money. Growing up thechildren was due to the place where family live in. However generallychildren grew up in their families. For example: “in most cases the Arabchildren continued in the family way of life, whether they were shepherds,farmers, merchants or whatever they might be. There was no caste systemnor were there different social classes, but no follow on with the familyoccupation came naturally” (Glubb, p.10). This was for the children wholived in the villages. “In towns, the boys went to day school and thegirls learned domestic duties in their families” (Glubb, p.11).

In theprimitive Arab societies, family did not only mean father, mother and thechildren, but also aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and more distantconnections and neighbors were members of the family. Members of theprimitive cultures determined laws. “They judged according to thetraditions, and, by such principles, ruled what action should be takenagainst any law-breakers. As the Ainu had no means of writing, their wholelegal system was verbal” (Ed. Shah, p. 183). There were a lot of peoplewho had verbal laws like the Ainu people. Although laws were transmittedorally laws did not change. Classification was the most important problemof the primitive cultures. Because, every people did not have the samejustice.”Societies such as Bundu had females only as permanent members,although men were allowed to watch them dance” (Ed. Shah, p. 53). Slaveswere not accepted to be a people. Moreover, in some societies, they wereseemed as an animal. If a slave had wanted to be a membership of thesociety he or she would have paid a fee for Society membership. “Many offees were very high, reflect the society’s degree of exclusiveness” (Ed.Shah, p. 54).

The religious life of the primitive cultures consisted of the rituals,symbols and magic. Firstly the most important religious thing of theprimitive cultures was rituals. “Rituals were common and collective acts,performed on a sequestered and consecrated site and aimed at the invocationof preternatural entities” (Segy, p. 16). Some implements were used inrituals. Mask was one of the implements. In Africa people used them inspecial days to reach the God. Myths helped people to understand themeanings of the masks and the rituals. In these special days a group ofbelievers came together and they began to dance. “These dances alsoreaffirmed man’s relationship with the mythological supernatural powers(spirits)” (Segy, p. 18). Symbols were very important for the primitivepeople. The believed some symbols protected them from the devil and thebad spirits.

The use of the symbols is explained like:Symbols of invincibility are used, many of them mathematically strong,symmetrical and simple. They are placedoutside the entrance to thebase and tattooed or painted onto the members during ceremonies, aswell as being etched on stones and other objects to be used inceremonies, thus asserting the magical presence. Some are drawn in aparticular way, such as the Kufong’s pyramid, which must beconstructed in the dirt using a stick held between the palms of bothhands (Ed. Shah, p. 59).

Magic was one the main parts of the primitive religious life. Theprimitive people learned magic from their ancestors. But some of them knewit very well. Other people respected them and they believed that themagicians reached the god. The magicians could make rain, restore life andget people better by using magic. Some people who live in Africa whosestill magic. A tourist was named Howard explain his adventure with theseAfrican people:Inao (fetishes) were stuck in the ground all around the fire, andfollowing their intimations, while they stood back in great alarm, Ithrew my poor Kodak, my pictures, all my apparatus, on the fire, andstood calmly looking on till nothing was left of them but ashes (Ed. Shah, p. 192)The economical life of the primitive people was simple. It was due tothe nature. The nature gave them what they want and what the need. Someprimitive people knew hunting such as African people. Some of them preferto grow plants. They used oxen to plow.Many primitive people ateanother human. In other words, they were cannibal. It can be frighteningbut they had a lot of reasons why they ate human. They thought that whenthey ate a man their virility would increase.

Economical situations and relationships are the main parts of thesocial structure of the modern cultures. The family is important. Butgenerally fathers have more than rights than mother because of the socialstructure. Moreover in some countries such as America or England women domore works than men. For example some women work as a driver. In themodern societies every people has a status. It is generally due topeoples’ occupations. It is essential to the evolution of culture.

The religious life of modern cultures consists of the holy books. The holy books are Koran, Bible and Talmud. Koran is the holy book of theMuslims.Bible and Talmud are the holy books of the Christians and theJews. Most of the modern people are Christian. However, some people donot believe the god, the hell, the heaven and the destiny. This belief isnamed atheism.

The economical life of the modern cultures have begun to changeafter The Industry Revolution. Two economic system rose in 1912. One ofthem is capitalism. Capitalism means if a people have money or own acompany the control is under him. It is for the ownership of capitalgoods. Second economical system is socialism. America is one of thecapitalist countries.Socialism is a system or condition of society inwhich the means of production are owned and controlled by the state. Inthe world some countries such as China are socialist. In both systems theaccumulation of money is important to modern people. They live in fear oflosing money. Moreover, they spend too much money for unnecessary things.

“For instance, sunglasses basically provide the instrumental function ofprotecting one’s eyes, but they also may be decorative or even terriblyexpensive, thereby displaying conspicuous consumption” (Kaiser, p. 95)There are some similarities between modern and primitive cultures. For example family is important for both cultures, because the people seefamily essential for social structure. They believe that if a family lifeis strong the social structure will be strong.There are some similarpunishments to prevent crime. For example, execution is present in bothcultures.

If we want to compare modern and primitive cultures we have to thinkcarefully. A writer explained the difference between two cultures:It may be doubted whether the modern civilized individual differsgreatly regards inherited capacities from his ancestors of the StoneAge; the difference between savagedom and civilization is not organicbut cultural. The increase in our knowledge of ancient types of manhas, in some respects, accentuated rather than attenuated theabruptness of the transition from animality to humanity; the oldesthuman remains and the tools associated with them indicate a braincapacity which is not markedly, if it all, inferior to that ofexisting races (Custance, p. 135).

According to the writer, the difference between modern and primitivepeople is only culture. Primitive man was as clever as modern men. Theyhunted animals for a livelihood. They wanted to take from the nature whatthey need. However, modern people cannot think like that. Modern man cuttrees to found companies and to earn more money. He wants too much everytime. One day, his ambition will bring his end because he damages thenature and the world. Money is a goal for him. A primitive man said, “Money is like dirt on your hands. One day it is there and the next day itis gone” (Ed. Shah, p. 8).This was the world view of the modernpeople.

To sum up, the last 200 years the world has changed too much. Twoworld wars happened. More than 30 million people were died because of these wars. Every peoplesaw how modern man was cruel. I think that primitive man saw it and he wasafraid of the world of modern people, because his world was based on thejustice.

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Modern and Primitive Cultures. (2019, Feb 14). Retrieved from