Shifting Society's Culture

21 May 2021

Jeff McCarty

There is a better version of society that awaits humanity in the future. This better version of society isn't a utopia by any means, yet if we put in the work to improve, we can have a better version of civilization than we currently have. Our species must embrace a new paradigm of common humanity. This new paradigm will enable cooperation among humans, allowing us to improve society by incrementally solving our species' problems. I have illustrated this new paradigm; within this post, I will demonstrate how we begin to introduce this new paradigm to humanity.


To understand how we introduce this paradigm into the minds of humanity, we must understand how society formed its current paradigm. Understanding the creation of society's current paradigm can only be done by understanding what constitutes our society's paradigm. The best way of understanding what constitutes our society's paradigm is to analyze our culture as a society. Culture can be best understood using the visual aid below.


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Things such as our values, traditions, practices, and the knowledge we pass down are significant influences on our culture. All these elements of culture genuinely dictate what humanity's paradigm becomes, and it is the reinforcement of that paradigm that continues to dictate the culture.

This revolving cycle where each side empowers the other creates a stronghold in which altering the paradigm that society operates on is daunting at best. Mainly since culture gets locked in once that the paradigm has become the status quo, humanity can change the paradigm and the resulting culture though, what must be recognized is that it requires two things: time and conscious effort. With time and conscious effort, humanity can shift the culture of a society, and we can put a new paradigm in place.


This setting of a new paradigm through shifting the culture has occurred multiple times throughout human history, and sometimes not always for good. One example of this that sticks out for me was the conscious effort that the tobacco industry made to insert cigarettes into the hands of those on television. Many lead characters would light up a cigarette in a scene to ensure tobacco usage became part of our culture and instilled into society's paradigm. Although this addition to the paradigm was a net negative for society, it does prove that the paradigm and the culture that holds it in place can shift over time by utilizing a conscious effort.

If we are to instill a paradigm focused on our common humanity, we will have to impact the culture. We will have to create art and literature that have the message of our common humanity embedded. We will have to practice traditions that connect us to this paradigm of commonalities. We will have to craft stories and pass down knowledge that details humans living within this paradigm of shared humanity and instill this view of our commonalities connecting us as species into our value system. All elements of society's culture will have to be influenced by this paradigm if we want to build a better society for all humans. There is lots of work to bring this vision of a better society that operates underneath this paradigm to fruition. It is a task with little chance for short-term satisfaction yet will have tremendous payoffs for humanity when we all have embraced the fact that we are all the same as humans and in this thing called existence together.


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