Culture

Humans have always liked to live in groups rather than spend their lives in solitude. Although man has evolved greatly over the years, from a creature resembling an ape to a person being able to think and take rational decisions, the idea of wanting to have other humans for company is something that all the forms of man have had in common. The earliest humans were hunters. Their successors established settlements on the banks of rivers because they found it to be an easy source of the life giving liquid water. Agriculture came into existence when humans felt the need to be self sufficient in matters of food. These small settlements gave rise to huge independent kingdoms, each of which had a unique way of life- art, literature, music, ideas about morality etc. And each group's unique way of life is precisely what we call culture.

Cult is the past participle of the verb 'colere', meaning "to till". Culture therefore, is one of the many English words that have their origins in the Latin language. Man today is part of many groups- right from the locality where he lives, to the place he works, to this planet as a whole. Each of the people in the group exhibit common attitudes and beliefs i.e common culture. The existence of culture gives the concerned group a distinct identity in the larger scheme of things. For example one group might believe polygamy to be perfectly acceptable, while others might feel revolted at the very mention of the idea.

Understanding cultures helps to understand the person in question better. It also helps to avoid potentially embarrassing situations that may arise due to ignorance- as opinions about various practices and customs vary from place to place.

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