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"Elements of Culture"

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The Essential Elements of Culture

Joel Dubois, (c) 2009, 2013--for free, fully cited distribution only

VI. Conclusion: Starting Your Own Investigation

This overview of the elements of culture is intended as a starting point for your exploration of the primary sources encountered throughout the course, rather than as a definitive statement of truth to be accepted, memorized and repeated. I do urge you to study, remember, and seriously reflect on the points I have made regarding

  • the dynamic nature of belief, which may better be spoken of using terms like "awareness," "reflection" and "trust";

  • the subtle distinctions between different types of invisible beings and forces; and

  • the questions and distinctions I stress as key for investigating the details of practice and the social web, the visible elements of culture.

But I also hope that you will test these ideas rather than simply accept them, ideally discussing them with peers and weighing the alternatives. I hope you will consider to what extent the examples of Asian culture that you study throughout the semester are adequately explained by the analytical tools presented in this essay, ideally once again in conversation with others, who may hold different views. And I hope that you will come up with your own ideas and perspectives about culture generally, and Asian cultures in particular. In the long run, finally, I hope that you will develop and sharpen investigative skills that will serve you in your life in some important way.

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