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Cultural Artifact of Rugged Individualism

PART I

Artifacts of our own cultures surround us. From art and music to architecture and literature, from philosophy and religion to laws and economics, we live among cultural artifacts that have deep roots.

Select the single cultural artifact that you believe best represents the culture in which you live today. Present a detailed description of the artifact, and analyze in detail how the artifact relates to the values, beliefs of the culture. Investigate and evaluate the deep cultural roots of your artifact. What historical roots allowed your artifact to come into being? Which cultural periods might have influenced its eventual development? How do you anticipate this artifact being passed to future generations? What kinds of evolutions might it undergo as culture changes? Craft an essay that addresses these points from the perspective of someone trained in the Humanities.

PART 2

Details: How can better understanding our collective cultural heritage and shared humanity across time and geographic place help us to be better stewards of a global future? What role or roles do you believe understanding cultural differences across time and throughout the world plays outside academia, if any? Support your response with specific examples or details.

Solution Preview

Interesting idea you're working on here. I'm not sure if you want many different possible artifacts or one specific one. Here is what I've decided to do. I will give a list of possible artifacts for you to pursue in this first paragraph and will develop one artifact fully. In this way you can get an idea of how to flesh out an idea but also have a list of other alternate artifacts.

Here is a list of possible artifacts:

- The calendar (in America we use the Gregorian calendar but some countries still use the Julian calendar.) I live in Thailand and here the year is 2553 not 2010.
- The Ten Commandments. (many of the values we aspire to as a nation can be directly traced back to this historical document - honesty, honor, faithfulness, work ethic, lack of visible idols, 7 day week, don't murder, steal or lie, day off on Sunday)
- Guns (the right to bear arms is a definite cultural artifact, America stands almost alone in the world in its defense of the right of its citizens to possess and in some states carry a lethal weapon)

Present a detailed description of the artifact, and analyze in detail how the artifact relates to the values, beliefs of the culture.
I am going to address the cultural artifact of rugged individualism. The dictionary defines individualism as...

Belief in the primary importance of the individual and in the virtues of self-reliance and personal independence.
A doctrine advocating freedom from government regulation in the pursuit of a person's economic goals.
A doctrine holding that the interests of the individual should take precedence over the interests of the state or social group.

The belief in the supremacy of the individual is a strongly rooted principle in America. While most of the rest of the world values the whole over the part, America provides an exception. Asian and African and Latin civilizations especially value the group over the individual. The unity and cohesion of the group is almost always taken into account first and then the desires or "rights" of the individual may be evaluated. In America we value the individual over the group. My rights individually are many times esteemed to be of more importance than the rights of the group.

I am currently living in Thailand. Here in Thailand it is a crime to speak badly of the king. If you criticize the king in public you can be turned in and fined or put in jail. Are the people worried about their freedom of speech being violated? No, I don't even believe they think about it in these terms. They realize that if the head is attacked the body suffers. If the leader is attacked the nation will experience turmoil. This sounds ridiculous to an American. In America we flaunt our "right" to say what we want.

Examples of this abound. In America we defend people who burn the American flag, if an artist wants to display a painting of Christ covered in urine and feces we defend that as creative thinking, if people want to demonstrate in favor of animal rights by being photographed in the nude we applaud them, if one individual in a student body of 800 determines in his/her mind that a cross is offensive to him/her then all such icons must be banned from the school whether that icon ...

Solution Summary

This post examines the cultural concept of rugged individualism in detail. This concept has impacted American society for hundreds of years. The ways in which this idea has impacted culture, history, politics, sports and geography are examined. 2126 words with many references throughout.

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