Second Tangent

Remember the last time (or maybe the only time) I had to end a post on short notice because of something requiring more attention? Well. That is now over and it’s been several hours since that distraction and I wanted to add more to the second tangent – one that attempted to answer culture exploring the fundamental factors guiding culture and people of some background – geographical (I won’t say cultural now because we’re tackling its evolution).

Talking about cultures and peoples at this time can be tricky as we had already grown used to, probably from several generations back to view culture and people as an entity, a singularity. And culture as one that had showed itself into the people and their minds somewhat magically, but science would say otherwise. I would say culture has evolved with the people on some common ground – like geography or ethnicity. Culture essentially is the manifestation of the physical environment into something that helps some people adapt and conquer. The differences in culture can be attributed to the local environmental factors. And remember, these environmental factors can extent to outside the natural environment like say, population.

I really want to force a case study on you in the form of an example but I won’t, or rather will resist the urge because it will lead to a confirmation bias on my side – enabling me to falsely validate the original hypothesis on how cultures evolved. Instead, what I will happily force on you is some form of anecdotal evidence – somethings I’ve observed during my travels and interactions with people assimilated with different cultures.

People and their cultures tend to greatly revolve around the geography. People in hot, equatorial regions generally have festivities by water or some water body. Those in tropical regions have a food style revolving around fruits. In southern India, where I live, rice is the staple food and I’ve often wondered why anyone would want to primarily base their diets on a plain source of carbohydrate over protein-rich wheat. I assumed that soil conditions and the livelihoods of the predecessors played a role. They spent a great deal of time on the field farming and that’d somehow correlated to increased energy needs and a higher calorific content in food, coupled with soil conditions and monsoon rains enabling rice production.

Drinking is a particularly interesting one. Cultures where enjoying an alcoholic beverage is not radicalized are often ones pertaining to countries with a cold climate. Moreover, said beverages were brewed to keep some fruit/barley surplus from possibly going bad – so they were fermented and stored to be enjoyed at a later time. The story of beer tells us German wives would brew beer with leftovers to minimize wastage and when people started throwing in wheat when they were left over, the Germans enacted the Purity Act which forbade them from doing that to prevent food crops produced in lesser yield from becoming scarce. This story goes back ages and might be partially or completely true.

Besides adaptations to food styles, I think languages and conduct too could have evolved over some environmental influences. Some languages seem to lack vocabulary and phrases to describe certain situations which you would otherwise not expect in their land/among their peoples. Language, in turn seems to manifest itself in architecture. Many Hindu and Arabian building styles use elaborate and ‘curvy’ features. The sizing of windows and other features in a building that would compromise privacy are also done respecting the local tradition – being conservative on who can see and how much.

Entropy is weird. We can never quantify it down to a quantum level. Is entropy proof God exists? Hold on as we dive into the third tangent.

Composed and published from my Raspberry Pi, running raspbian arm64

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