When I was away on vacation this last week, I realized how much I enjoyed getting out of the city and away from the "rat race". It’s almost as though you finally get a chance to "unplug" and therefore you’re much more easily able to find yourself again. With this in mind, I was reminded of what I said before about culture. That being that not only does our culture define us but we too define our culture.
Why this was important to me is that I realized that if we are going to live in these ever increasingly fast paced times, where changes occur at a dizzying rate, then we need something to ground or anchor us so that we don’t lose our way and more importantly don’t lose our self identity in the process. For me, cultural values are the perfect anchor because not only do they define how you want to live your life but they also emanate from you and can change the world around you. In other words, you define your culture and your culture influences those around you when you interact with them.
A great example of this was back when I used to play Counter-Strike. During that time, I was playing in a computer game in a totally fictitious make believe environment. Yet in interacting with others within that game, I still held true to the values that I strongly believed in as a person. On our Counter-Strike server where we let people play in our "world", we were very adamant in defining the values and rules of our community’s culture and expected those within that environment to follow them otherwise they could go elsewhere. We promoted an open, caring, and sharing environment where "newbies" (those new to the game) could come and receive help without being harassed or ridiculed. As mentioned previously, this created a wonderfully enjoyable environment for everyone within our community (it almost reminded me of the TV series Cheers where you show up and everyone yells "Norm!").