Man an animal, but he is far more than an animal. In what ways is he more than animal? He is far more than an animal in his possession of culture, his powers of abstract reasoning, his use of language and self-consciousness.
Anatomically, man is different from animal with “his permanently erect posture, and his possession of truly opposable thumbs combined with wide-angle stereoscopic vision”. It is better to describe man’s status that, he is unique in possession of abilities to achieve certain goals beyond the reach of animals. He is qualitatively different. Scripturally, man is an image of God. He has placed man above other creatures. He is, therefore, expected to keep his environment in a natural order. Based on this, man becomes a unique creator of culture.
Obviously enough, culture has played a crucial role in human evolution. It allows human beings to adapt the environment to their own purposes rather than depend on natural selection to achieve adaptive success. Culture is vital because it makes people to live together without the need to negotiate meaning at every moment. We are influenced and interact within it.
Culture is significant because it enables us to have a pattern of living with noted and effective understanding. It is the bedrock and backbone of all structures that hold human existence. Culture is the semblance of a people – it gives them classified identity. It gives them common objectives and directions. Culture is a pathway and legacy that transforms humans from generation to generation.
Going by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), culture should be regarded as the set of distinctive, material, intellectual and emotional features of society or a social group and encompasses, in addition to art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, tradition and beliefs. Culture is a complex web of shifting patterns that link people in different locales. It is a product of interactions of men. A people without a significant culture are on a routine root of natural cycle – “Like animals do”. Culture is the structure of co-existence of human race. It makes us different from animals.
Ojo Oyeyemi J. | Photo Credit: Klala Photography