The Nature of Modern Society
Discuss about the Material Culture and Consumer Society.
“Is this the curse of modernity, to live in a world without judgment, without perspective, no context for understanding or distinguishing what is real and what is imagined, what is manipulated and what is by chance beautiful, what is shadow and what is flesh?”
The above quoted lines of Terry Tempest Williams clearly outline the nature of the modern society. It is to be noted that the society forms an important aspect of the life of an individual and it also had a marked impact on the views as well as the thinking pattern of the individuals (Rosenberg, 2015). Therefore, it would not to be too far-fetched to say that the character as well as the personality of an individual is the reflection or mirror image of the society in which he or she has been brought up (Graves-Brown, Jones & Gamble, 2013). In the opinion of Thomas Grey articulated in the book “The Picture of Dorian Grey”, “the costume of the nineteenth century is detestable. It is so sombre, so depressing. Sin is the only real colour-element left in modern life”. It is to be noted that although he meant that line in the specific context of the nineteenth century society but that line still holds true in the context of the present day society as well.
I would like to mention here that I am an international student in Australia and was brought up in a completely different cultural as well as social background. Therefore, the cultural as well as the social environment which I found here are not in synchronization with the cultural and the social environment which I experienced in native country. Some of the cultural as well as social practices which I found here in the country of Australia like same-sex marriage, the support of the LGBT management, the divorce system, live-in relationships were concepts heard by me only in books and movies. Therefore, I am not very open to these ideas and my own cultural as well as social upbringing prohibited me from accepting them.
Cultural background forms an important aspect of the social identity of an individual (Ryan, 2014). It is often seen that the culture which has been taught to a person in his or her early childhood leave a lasting impression on him or her (Graves-Brown, Jones & Gamble, 2013). I would like to comment here that I was brought up in the conservative cultural background of the country of Bangladesh. I was brought according to the stringent precepts of the culture of Muslim society. I would also like to add here that since I had my upbringing in Bangladesh which is a third world country, many of the things that I see around myself in the country of Australia are completely new to me. Initially, I was very amazed to see these cultural differences around myself. However, as I spent some time in this particular country I became accustomed to the cultural traditions of Australia. I would like to add that I even for schooling I attended a boys school and the rules in my culture were so stringent that we were not even encouraged to interact with unmarried girls without the presence of the elders. Therefore, the culture of the Australia where the people from different sexes openly interacted with each other without the presence of the elders and the same house without marriage was very different from the Islamic culture (Biesterfeldt et al., 2012).
Cultural Background and Identity Formation
Religion is another social factor which plays a significant role in the social identity of an individual (Ryan, 2014). I was brought up according to the precepts of the Islamic which my parents followed. I would like to add here that the Islamic religion had a profound impact on me so that I started to judge the rightness or the wrongness of any action solely on the basis of the precepts of Islam. Therefore, the religious traditions of the country of Australia were completely alien to me especially their traditions like divorce system, the consumption of different kinds of red meats, consumption of alcohol and various others (Staniforth, 2012). According to Cage J. Madison in the book “Alpha360: Book 1: An Evolutional Journey for the Modern Man”, “Modern society has sent men on a quest that is perhaps an inquiry just as thought-provoking as the popular question: what is the meaning of life. The question thrown at men by the society is one which many men struggle to answer, and that question is: What does it mean to be a man?”. Therefore, the modern generation tries to live their life as per the way which provides them with the maximum amount of joy or pleasure in the name of finding the answer to the question of the true meaning of life (Rosenberg, 2015). The same sex marriage and other customs followed by the people of Australia and other modern nations of the world find its support in the lines of authors like C. JoyBell like “Life is too short to waste any amount of time on wondering what other people think about you. In the first place, if they had better things going on in their lives, they wouldn't have the time to sit around and talk about you. What's important to me is not others' opinions of me, but what's important to me is my opinion of myself.”
The primary tradition of the Australian culture which was completely alien to me and with which I had a hard time was the concept of same sex marriage. I would like to add here that in my own motherland and the religion which I followed marriage was a very sacred thing and one of the precept of this included an emotion as well as a physical bond between two people belonging to opposite sexes (Biesterfeldt et al., 2012). However here in the nation of Australia I found that the people of the same sex were attracted to each other and even the governmental authorities supported this particular choice of the individuals by granting them marriage as well as union rights. This system is something which is totally alien to me. I was really amazed to find that even the government supported this life style of the people in name of promotion liberty and the fundamental rights of the people. According to C. JoyBell, “The unhappiest people in this world, are those who care the most about what other people think”. Therefore, the people in the country of Australia do not care about the opinion of others and live their life as per the style which suits them the best and provides them the most amount of pleasure (Staniforth, 2012). However, in the opinion of Christopher Buehlman articulated in the book “Modern life makes so many of us strangely empty”.
Therefore, from the above discussion it becomes clear society had a major impact on the growth as well as the development of the character as well as personality of an individual. The role played by cultural background as well as religion is also very significant to note and in my case it has a lasting impression. The various social organizations also play a significant role for an individual. It is to be noted that the various customs of the Australian nation were totally different were totally different from the ones followed in my own motherland of Bangladesh. Therefore, I had to make certain adjustments in my attitude as well as my opinion and the way I used to see the world around myself.
Biesterfeldt, H. H., Kreutz, M., Wild, S., Kemper, M., Schäbler, B., & Würsch, R. (2012). Humanism and Muslim culture: historical heritage and contemporary challenges (Vol. 2). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=Qgft3srnT8EC&oi=fnd&pg=PA3&dq=muslim+culture&ots=REfqGzIAHa&sig=G6lWRbC7eRlNrNKeMjDa31uap6Y#v=onepage&q=muslim%20culture&f=false
Graves-Brown, P., Jones, S., & Gamble, C. S. (Eds.). (2013). Cultural identity and archaeology: the construction of European communities. Routledge. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=NeLrFgg2PaQC&oi=fnd&pg=PR10&dq=cultural+background+and+identity&ots=WiWsAruK4C&sig=bTat_zwZ-5c8RINBT2hc_Drsa2Y#v=onepage&q=cultural%20background%20and%20identity&f=false
Rosenberg, M. (2015). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton university press. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=YR3WCgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=society&ots=rLX-H6aGUX&sig=51ASepIhZblXRkOg5LYJ3ImsQzY#v=onepage&q=society&f=false
Ryan, L. (2014). ‘Islam does not change’: young people narrating negotiations of religion and identity management. Journal of Youth Studies, 17(4), 446-460. doi/abs/10.1080/13676261.2013.834315
Saltzman, E. B. (2015). The Picture and Dorian Gray. Drawn from the Classics: Essays on Graphic Adaptations of Literary Works, 177. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=zWBiCQAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA177&dq=The+Picture+of+Dorian+Grey&ots=vFUFgug1nk&sig=QPjBybQ2d8rtFJuzAV8BdsxuUE4#v=onepage&q&f=false
Staniforth, M. (2012). Material culture and consumer society: dependent colonies in colonial Australia. Springer Science & Business Media. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=5pp3BQAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PT14&dq=culture+of+australia&ots=Q1R8HUtPj1&sig=8I2Zz-rZ838KdAB5CkLgbmjVdlo#v=onepage&q=culture%20of%20australia&f=fals
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