Essay on Cultural Standards Are All That We Have

2105 Words9 Pages
Cultural Standards Are All That We Have
Our world is a melting pot of different cultures, each one unique in its own respect. Who we are, and what we generally believe to be true or right is a product of what our society values. Because our way of living is what we were raised to believe as “right”, it is often hard to except the fact that others live differently. In reality, different cultures have different moral codes. The belief in the objectivity and universality of moral truth is an unachievable ideal standard, and holds no practical value.
It is irrefutable that some values vary from culture to culture. As one travels the world, they will inevitably see diverging moral standards in many areas, such as wearing clothes, funerary
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However, in most cases these customs can be justified by an examination of their historical context and cultural significance. For example, the Callatians, a tribe of Indians, customarily eat the bodies of their dead fathers. (488) According to our cultural standards, this act would be fundamentally immoral. Because we were raised to believe that burying the dead, or cremating them is the only right thing to do, we would view this act on behalf of the Callatians as morally wrong. However, to the Callatians eating the flesh of the dead is considered to be an act of respect for the dead, while burying or cremating the dead is seen as dishonorable. (493) Our condemnation of the Callatians funerary customs, or their rejection of ours, can be attributed to the fact that different cultures yield different moral codes. It is important to keep an open mind when dealing with other cultures, because we can never be confident that our own socially determined values are in accordance with theirs.
All individual moral standards derive from cultural standards. Individual standards are actually a product of cultural conditioning, and do not usually diverge from what a person has been trained by their society to believe. From birth until death a person is engulfed in society, constantly subjected to endless amounts of “cultural propaganda.” This “cultural propaganda” comes in the forms of advertisements, schooling, and religion. One cannot read a
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