Blog Post #5

Van Asperen has introduced a very interesting that we often use within the courses of our study program. The three dimensions of monism, relativism and communicative moral universalism describe the set up of human mind sets quit well without eliminating alternatives. Personally I think though, that these dimensions are a process in its self. Uneducated people that have never experienced a different culture will always put their own culture above all others. By interacting with different cultures and also educating one self about different cultures one slowly moves towards relativism. Still, by talking about different cultures a lot of us the them is used. By continuing the process of getting aware of cultural differences and then maybe also living within a different culture us and them thinking can be removed form ones thinking pattern. By living in a culture, at one point you adapt norms and values. This means that you do not loose your own culture but you understand the “we” and shape further as an individual.

During the research on global connections I did had the feeling that we talk a lot a bout us and them. For example finding connections that affect Arlington and ones that had influence on Groningen is from my point of view us and them thinking. Isn’t globalization the embodiment of “us”? Therefore, I still perceive globalization and this course finding connections of things or events that affects the whole class (US. and the Netherlands) but also the entire world. Also, local communities nowadays are shaped not only by its countries influences but also by global ones. Van Asperen indicated that the study of culture is not that old. Also the terminus globalization is not too long used among humans. Having said this, I strongly believe that the world is slowly (very slowly) shifting away from “the Americans, the refugees, the criminal Caribbean’s” ¬†towards a united “we” thinking. This means we all get more aware of the global impact we as an individual have. So basically we as a global human society are also moving through the process from being monistic through relativistic to communicative moral universalistic.

According to van Asperen communicative moral universalism is the degree to consider a person from a different culture as an equal fellow human being and allowing your self and the other person to make mistakes without blaming it on ones culture. Keeping this in mind, I think we all started (students) started this course off as being relativistic. We separated both classes and also spoke of them and us. After a few weeks and collaborative assignments in the course I recognized that we moved away from saying us and them and rather referring to us as a whole course. Personally, We have grown to one entity (at least within the groups) and realized that this course only coexists when we try together, explore together, and build together (like van Asperen writes in the text). Of course this process took a little longer because we got to know each other only through digital media but if people really want to mutually achieve something they will always find a solution to together pull on one string.

The course clearly shows that there are different stages of cultural awareness and perception but nobody is trapped forever within its own current stage.

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