Sunday, April 30, 2006

Getting Closer to The Point: Hall On Time and Proxemics

Getting Closer to The Point: Hall On Time and Proxemics (Review Part Nine)

"No matter who you are, no matter how good an athlete you are, we're creatures of habit. The better your habits are, the better they'll be in pressure situations." - Wayne Gretzky

Trailing through "Time Talks: American Accents", a reader may note that all this talking about time and habits has foisted Hall into a natural extension of his organisational arguments regarding cultural influences on time concepts and time keeping to what appears no accidental ruddy path of thought easily extended to proxemics theories. This is an example of how cultural values discussed under the terms of logical categorizations may then be interpreted themselves out of the purely ideological and into the physically measured realms of empirical science, yard sticks, slide rules, and calculations data. Proxemics is observable and easily exemplified. Hall was one of the first to ever key such concepts into readable print.

However Hall ends his discussions on time recapping that informal time patterns most easily attributed to Americans through time exist intrinsically buried isolates in the workings levels of urgency, number of multi-tasking events taking place, state of being busy or not, with degrees of variety thrown into the ticking dark, stew on cultural time patterns. He notes that informal time isolates form easily overlooked aspects to time keeping as they are so deeply tuned, that it is impossible to participate in two time sets at the same time. Thus cultural time clashes.

This would illustrate one of the challenges of cross-cultural experience, or the considerably misinterpreted term "cocooning" in contemporary Korean culture. Cocooning is considered indicative of negative individualism in a communalist-based society. However foreigners immersed daily in foreign cultures of a communalist context often need "time-out" and for some this may involve quiet weekends alone with books, hiking trails, shopping, or with small groups of closely guarded friends. Humans are creatures of comfort, and pattern, the last thing most foreigners living in foreign countries require are verbal sparring attacks, or outright hostility for their own cultural values or quizzical questioning of their perspectives on individuality, time keeping patterns, or perspectives on what constitutes leisure. Probably the last thing an expatriate needs is to be reminded that their very idea of individualism may simply be a culturally filtered communal value itself.

Incidentally, the longer one exists as a foreigner or expatriate, perhaps the greater the need for individualist cocooning-type activities, if merely to maintain a sense of one's own cultural values. Individuals often become fairly shy of others as a result, a limited diversity of often illogically based opinions (the black or white variety) can induce horrendously slanderous, libelous displays of expatriate gossip, all often isolating such possible expatriate communities even further from discovering logic-based concepts to explain their issues surrounding what constitutes community and individual, those experiencing similar cross-cultural challenges, but resolving them in diversely different ways.

Expatriates are often the least prepared to perceive the infinite shades of gray between being part of a culture and partially understanding what culture is as a result. While I enjoy the company of some foreigners, I need my personal head space to process real ideas, sourced from real thinkers, I am not paid to entertain whiners and complainers table number five. As in, I footed the bill to up my appreciation for this area of human experience through reading and the result is writing about it, often coincidentally fairly isolating. As in, increasing your education is often the same result as getting a new used trailer. Some of your neighbours will just stop talking with you regardless if you actually learned something or not. Particularly I would hope women might understand men move through these proxemical distances and consider some women worthy of infinite intimacy, while others must remain at a discretely "not close" or public distances often simply based on feelings.

Thus Hall closes his discussions on informal time patterns to remind the reader that they are never explicit, that they are probably the most deeply wired and the earliest cultural patterns acquistions each individual possesses and that they are felt to be either safe, familiar, and comfortable or wrong, and unfamiliar. Thus, educating oneself to learn more about them may even be perceived as wrong, or unfamiliar, even to your supposed peers. That concepts on time are held tightly, righly or wrongly they are as the mind's first rattle held with a vice-like grip by most. Furthermore, as Hall begins to exentuate that time patterns, systems, and organisational isolates are only conservatively flexible or stretchable, he begins to lead the reader into one of his other pioneering theoretical determinacies of observable, cultural contrasts. Notably that the fields of physical interactions among individuals are themselves culturally variable, and particularly determinant. Concepts of inflexibility in time isolates explains rather fully some other fairly rigid concepts in terms of proxemics, individual, communal, and architectural.

Regional time and proxemical variations exist in every nation and culture. Hall says these differences display themselves through comparative and contrastive scales infinitely measurable in hierarchical organisations between communities, between men and women, between families, occupational differences, status differences, et cetera. He goes so far as to categorize in American society the presence of two general time keeping principles at work as of 1959. These consisted of "displaced point" and "diffused point" time patterns relating to appointment keeping.

Displaced time keepers were apt to arrive ahead of schedule by as much as 30 minutes or as little as five minutes before an appointment. Diffused pointers were considered to arrive from five minutes before to up to twenty or twenty-five minutes late. In recent decades, it may be easy to surmise which group has been voluntarily sacrificed and excised from the payroll i n the interests of perceived productivity gains. Thus variety in much of western business is not the spice of profits. One proported area which strangely handled time in the 1950's according to Hall is the north-west which apparently scheduled appointments thirty minutes earlier than actual start time to accomodate diffused time keepers.

If such a trend extended itself to California over the last forty five years or so then it might be one more hidden reason why that state has increased its population girth so successfully in recent decades. Perhaps California is simply a mecca for Hall's "perpetually late every where else" diffused time keepers.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Little Brown Bird

Little Brown Bird

O LITTLE brown bird in the rain,
In the sweet rain of spring,
How you carry the youth of the world
In the bend of your wing!
For you the long day is for song
And the night is for sleep–
With never a sunrise too soon
Or a midnight too deep!

For you every pool is the sky,
Breaking clouds chasing through,–
A heaven so instant and near
That you bathe in its blue!–
And yours is the freedom to rise
To some song-haunted star
Or sink on soft wing to the wood
Where your brown nestlings are.

So busy, so strong and so glad,
So care-free and young,
So tingling with life to be lived
And with songs to be sung,
O little brown bird!–with your heart
That's the heart of the Spring–
How you carry the hope of the world
In the bend of your wing!

"Little Brown Bird." by Isabel Ecclestone Mackay (1875-1928) From: Fires of Driftwood. by Isabel Ecclestone Mackay. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, Limited, 1922, p. 72.
[ women/mackay/driftwood/bird.html]

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Time Marches On: Edward T. Hall On Time (Part Eight)

Time Marches On: Edward T. Hall On Time (Part Eight)
Hall naturally examines the possible case of an American, with decidely rigid cultural perspectives on time, interacting on a local schedule in an unnamed foreign nation with decidely different, equally rigid culturally based aspects to time. He relates how time clashes culturally when five minutes of American tardiness might be equivalent locally to an hour's worth of minutes. In interactions with Chinese students in Australia, three hours lateness may at times be similarly interpreted cross-culturally. Hall posits that western time dictates eight time sets for punctuality and appointments: on time, five, ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty, forty-five minutes, and one hour all late or early.
This is contrasted specifically with Mediterranean Arabs in possession of three discernable time sets for the same purposes in: no time at all, now (or present), and forever (too long). I would posit these time sets have some influences among Gulf Arabs as well, especially in relationship to military logistics. Hall then concerns himself with informal perspectives on time; specifically he details awareness of the rapid or the dragging passing of time. He then discusses in detail time isolates described as: urgency, monochronism, activity and variety.
Urgency is ascribed values contingent to base needs being psychologically and culturally determined, with a greater time urgency translating into a greater perception of time drag. Desperate needs, such as desire for success, immediate medical attention, or the observance of the withering of crops in need of rain are listed as examples where time appears to drag. Hall defines urgency not only as a cultural set but also as a pattern. Hall suggests that Americans possess higher tendencies to urgency than many of their European counterparts and especially more than many foreign nations. Hall posits that the locations of public toilets in the USA illustrates a cultural tendency to deny the existence of urgency.
Hall notes that public toilets are more often than not hidden away and implicates the result of periodic torture for those seeking to avail such facilities during the search for them. In this I have often felt the sorry state of public toilets in many nations is not the result of frequency of usage but a discordant inability to provide the necessary standards of regular cleaning and maintenance which increased frequency of usage requires. As public toilets are more easily found then increased cleaning and scrubbing schedules are then similarly appreciated but often equally unavailable.
Hall describes this as the process of doing one thing at a time which does not translate well into the ideas of multi-tasking or the expectation that one can or would willingly still do one thing at a time when efficiently multipled by three or four. He defines American culture as monochromatic and thus not easily accomodating terms of action, process, or decision making which require the attendance of diverse aspects or features concurrently. This would imply that westerners do tend to process time in similar elements exemplified by featureless black and white perspectives rather than spectral colour variations. The distinctions of time which Hall highlights refer to involvement in activity on either active or dormant phases with few or zero variations on these two underlying themes of activity.
Hall says just sitting, or contemplating, or ruminating, or repeatedly posing is not considered a bona fide activity in many cultures; cats please take note. Hall makes an exception for prayer in prayerful cultures and the identifiable postures connected to it. Hall notes that for many cultures, including those of the Navaho, Arabs, Japanese, and many of those of India, just sitting around on swivel bar stools and evidently doing nothing is not considered a form of dormancy.
Hall makes a determination of monochromatism as consisting of two forms; the ageric culture and the non-ageric culture. One which requires action first for "becoming later" in the ageric or one which requires no actions contingent on future action as in the swiveling of bar stools set (the non-ageric culture).
The passing of time as being distinguishable between short, long, and very long durations is determined by Hall to be a factor in boredom and he claims the degree of boredom relates to how fast time is perceived to be passing. The Korean perspective relates particularly in the cultural diet. Koreans invariably know what they will have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as there is little variety in the general traditional staples. But in many cultures there is no prior knowledge of the contents of meals from possibly one meal to the next, as the decision of what to prepare is not often made prior to preparation time. This is an example of the types of variety in life dependent upon various cultural values systems. However, Koreans demand more varieties in particularly the latest fashions, styles, models, and features dynamics of cell-phone technologies than virtually any other nation. It would appear a traditional aversion to variety in life at meal time is perhaps (over) compensated through a pernicious market in consumer products like cell phones.
Hall posits that with variety time passes more quickly and conversely that it passes more slowly with sameness. He makes the statement that imprisonment in a place devoid of light without a sense of the passage of time, or the distinctions between night and day will provoke disorientation and the "loss of one's mind". Hall also observes aging as a process of variety often only observed in the context of the observing of the aging of others rather than self. As for Hall's discussions on time, they age well, such distinctions retain relevancy on an anecdotal basis a mere forty-seven years after they were first penned.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Chanting: No Frills Spiritual Guidance

Chanting: No Frills Spiritual Guidance

Discovering Spirit in Sound: Chanting (Rober Gass: 2000)

Gass discusses comparative global religious chants from a spiritualistic perspective which Dalai Lama claims is largely lacking in the modern world. The time and dedication millions once devoted to religious practice has been surmounted through a push towards excessive individualism which leaves many in the developed world feeling isolated from their internalized culutrally communal religious values. These then attempt to fill their hearts longings through material consumption and end up searching for their satisfactions through insignificant pursuits and shallow self-analysis. These often choose to pursue false gods rather than contemplate world religions themselves. Instead they purchase salts and scents, fringes and chips of the core of human experience, which is often religious faithfulness versus particularist belief systems. In so doing, through attempts to impose their individualist minds upon their culturally defined elements of faithfulness, they end up surrendering mostly to slick advertising and marketing campaigns.

Gass has obviously contributed greatly to a vast polity which yearns for some communal connection and individual spiritual development oftentimes devoid of religious affiliation. Basically, if people are pursuing the kinds of virtues eschewed through the major world religions such as compassion, forgiveness, and prayerfulness then I think chanting is a natural booster for their well-being.

However Gass admits that he is drawn to non-religious spirituality through a discomfort with religion. At times his text is informative, yet at other times it feels far too rushed in its desire to again line up some of the regular modern spiritual practioners and diviners with historically rich religious values as if to say they are of equal standing. It is like saying that a goat may feed spiritually the same way as a sacred cow might. Under the light of comparisons it is a good book for someone with no religious values willing to learn a little about the traditional values of others out of respect for them and trying to explore them in a non-threatening manner without having to necessarily glorify them.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Parking Lot of Global Growth: Of Mon(k)ey Man and Time Shifts

The Parking Lot of Global Growth: Of Mon(k)ey Man and Time Shifts

Transitioning entire developing economies to the purposes of export trade in the last few decades has been the "get rich, quick fix" for quite a number of nations, namely those willing to play ball with the developed world. However, much of international trade practice has been about putting more and more players on the team, requiring longer and longer walks out into left field, those players with possibly fewer collective team-playing skills may have merely virtually extended the field of play beyond perceptible fences to many spectators. Hall was one of them. One could assume local games are now played on a global diamond which extends far and beyond the "parking lots" similar to what some educators might consider inascribable viewpoints and perspectives, those which are set aside, namely, ideas which have fewer adherents. When do issues sent to the parking lot ever really get addressed? It is generally a nice way of saying your idea is just too complex for the average player. Unfortunately the definition and parameters of "average" themselves keep shifting in cultural values systems. Hall's ideas about cross-cultural perspectives are fairly simple. But who, other than business sponsored agencies actually profits from them? These are the questions which should not necessarily be in the parking lot.

Economists cluck satisfactorily about rises in real wage rates among many developing nations; they make a good case for the perceivable local benefits of global greenfield or economic direct investments versus the efforts of NGO donorships and aid agencies with perhaps at times fewer measurable progressive effects for their conquerent billions poured into numerous African nations for example. But what are some of the other cultural effects of extensive economic development among developing nations which may be evaluated on cross-cultural levels besides a transference to western time management systems? Many in developing nations claim the question is moot. That such determinations are entirely irrelevant topics for discussion.
Expertise in this field of cross-cultural research is an acquired skill, many claim to have it while few probably actually do by the way. Such determinations of skill must be found through dredging the depths of a perhaps culturally filtered concept of individual experience, and in giving relevancy to linkages of perhaps diffusive patterns of information usually only through established measures of recognition which at times holds empirical repute and is delineated by higher qualification than this author posesses. Without evidence of any research, how can a theory on the cross-cultural effects of rapid industrial growth in developing societies be measured? What would constitute one? It remains to merely make attempts at connections between pieces of relevant information here, and thankfully spending over two years seeking a position which would provide the "experience" to further such skills development has provoked a flurry of stuffy rejection letters and a form of personal educational retirement to the libraries of the mind on these topics.
Developing nation workers are locked in to probably the most cut-throat economic competition on the planet today mostly among themselves. It only takes a few outings in developing nations to realize that the majority of the people on our planet are not wired, not investing, not prospering. It seems most are merely transiting from subsistence farming and precarious self-sufficiency to urban or semi-urban poverty with fewer options for self-sufficiency with variable and sometimes questionable rates of success. Measure the developed world industrial age to see similar trends or patterns of cultural development, with possible similar outcomes but simply on a grander global scale of cultural and economic risk.
These many are just lucky enough to scratch at breaking even in often unbelievable hardships. Education, literacy, AIDS, life expectancy, for the vast majority of earth's population it is a "dog eat dog" world where immediacy and urgency require immediate base needs fulfillment of the bare necessities of life, be they food, clothing, and shelter. One may take positions akin to Jared Diamond on the factors or those of David Landes. Thus a dollar is worth more than a traditional language or custom imbued with thousands of years of immesurable investment? For most seemingly it is not even up for debate. Who really can afford to make that choice?
Remember Hall posits one is unaware of values orientations without comparable contrasts and recognition of patterns. Who has time to ruminate upon them if all life consists of is one long competition to an early finish? At any point in a contract for employment under such realities in a developing nation, a worker may expect none of the minimum standards set out only near the turn of the century in currently developed nations. These millions, billions are considered lucky to earn a few dozens of dollars monthly in an economic world which has only increasingly pushed free market terms of engagement to the poorest nations of the earth. These are players without bats, mitts, practice, or even coaches it seems. But all appear extremely happy to be playing the game. There are no rain days.
While it seems to run towards baseball, the topic here is whether or not evidence exists of cross-cultural time shifting, or namely does what Edward T. Hall have to say about time patterns really exist on dimensions of cultural impacts of economic development? Start with the most easily compared dynamics upon which Hall has repeatedly relied: languages. He has repeatedly used contrasts and comparisons in language patterns, sets, and isolates to define cross-cultural differences. Namely, their cultural underpinnings are in question. Can a culture be considered to exist beyond the extinction of its language? Apparently not.
“Each language is the means of cultural expression of the intangible cultural heritage of people... With the death and disappearance of such a language, an irreplaceable unit in our knowledge and understanding of human thought and worldview is lost forever.” - The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (Lydia Rieck:2004)
Culture values are lost in a rapid rush to industrialize developing nations and involves standards for observing informal and formal cultural reorientations, which implicates local national cultures in ways which may never be effectively measured. The speed and rate of language extinction exemplifies that the rate of adaptive evolution of local languages and cultures to suit process and production requirements is difficult to measure in terms of time orientations, for those that begin taking on massive concentrations of new loan words, namely those of business do so in agreement that some sacrifices must be made for new measures of success. The transitions taking place may be too great to measure, themselves representative of new cultural patterns and determinants as similarly rates of technological change may also perhaps impede objective analysis of their cultural impact. Historical evidence may be of little value to local cultures if no one chooses to write it down, read about it and or thus measure it. Why would it matter if all that matters is economic growth from an unmeasured, undetermined point of historical context to an undetermined, unmeasured point of progress?
At what point does a developing nation begin to evaluate rate of historical cultural changes beyond which it is or is not the context of rampant industrialisation? Hall expounds on time interrelatedness and challenges of communication cross-culturally from a historical persepective; similarly global cultural stereotypes continue to cloud the issues of cross-cultural communication. What are the actual purposes of understanding anything about cultures without realisable contrasts if they are resolutely disappearing along with the languages which were once their building blocks? Progressive industrialisation remains a desirable method to advance economically internationally. But for what real purpose other than to provide greater capital investments and products sales? Whose culture really determines such capitalisation? Do businesses in the developed world actually set out to improve the lives of developing nations workers, as they claim to be doing, or do they simply set about creating new consumers for capitalist systems seemingly devoid of cultural underpinnings other than the corporate ones? This inning all evidence suggests an economic growth of industrial workforces without any real provocative alternatives to develop union concessions and or minimum work standards originally deployed in the developed world.
Another consideration, perhaps entirely unrelated but simply quite interesting can be made in a reading of Clyde Kluckhohn's "Navaho Witchcraft" (1944). In this text, Kluckhohn made ethnographic studies of traditional Navaho customs and values associated with witchcraft. At the same time he collected various extensive interview data. Through cross-referencing his materials, he seemed to delineate a pattern of those accusing and those accused of witchcraft in Navaho societies. Anyone who has read "The Crucible" (Arthur Miller, 1953) may guess the conclusions of Klukhohn. Invariably, those accusing others of witchcraft, or those especially concerned with casting grudge spells or the like, were almost never first sons, or almost never possessed of powerful social hierarchical or leadership status in the local community. Those most likely accused were often community members of high social status. Kluckhohn concluded that witchcraft was the domain of the disenfranchsied, the powerless, and thus the means by which weaker members of a community might gain status, and the stronger members might lose status. That would make the corporates my chieftans?
It is an interesting aside to discuss the cultural patterns in thousands of factories in developing nations in such a context. Among many of the working poor, mostly young women, assembling countless components for countless product lines for sale in developing nations, local cultural superstitions often seem to mirror Klukhohn's conclusions on the status of witchcraft. Thousands of women logging thousands of hours in repetitive orders cycles, long hours, having hysterical fits and requiring traditional cleansing rituals practiced by local shamans to cleanse greenfield factories of ghosts, spirits or the like. The power status positions of managers and supervisors versus low-skilled, low-wage working women in developing nation cultures under such circumstances appears to suggest that it is no longer necessarily accusations of witchcraft against employers which is required but simply claims that a workplace or process of industrialisation is to blame, which is a haunting reflection of shifting status.
Obviously it is not necessarily income which determines dynamic cultural changes impacted by economic development, but particularly, changes in status for individuals. But under factory-working systems, which offer few developments or educational benefits, increases in wages, or improvements in working conditions for the poor, status remains unchanged, traditional superstitious belief systems are perhaps merely redirected to the process of industrialisation itself.
That most workers would prefer a day in a factory versus a day in the fields is probably true. It is the argument ham-fisted capitalists use over and over again. But the effects of globalised production makes it virtually impossible to make that choice over time. The production cycle makes certain that even the fields soon become a non-profitable option for most. Individuals do realize perhaps subconsciously that their filtered-sense of culture is being relentlessly manipulated and attacked by advertising and marketing, and technological changes which perhaps reveal themselves in hysterias like "The Monkey Man of India" or such events in shoe assembly plants which might require the visits and sacrifices of local witch doctors. It is a sense of powerlessness and perhaps an inability to adapt individual concepts of culture to new economic and process time orientation requirements invariably led by changing international trade dynamics.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Few Favourite Quotes from the Sufis

A Few Favourite Quotes from the Sufis
Essential Sufism (Fadiman and Frager: 1997)

God has made a polish for everything that tarnishes.
And the polish for the heart is rememberance.
The Prophet

Pray for what you want, but work for what you need.
Modern Traditional

"Does money upset the hearts of learned men?" He answered,
"Men whose hearts are changed by money are not learned."

Do not buy the enmity of one man for the love of a thousand men.

Money and How It "Tick Tocks":More Recent Evidence of Local Time Thieves

Money and How It "Tick Tocks": (More Recent) Evidence of Local Time Thieves
First of all, I am not an alarmist concerning the affairs and influences, truly the great liberties global mega-corporations have taken in linking our national economies and cultures to the ends of profits and losses. If one takes the time to read through some of these reviews I have cobbled together, the links between disciplines and fields of concern to international business, and the general topic of it, are clearly supported by more than my tiny pricks concerning the cross-cultural dimension.
National cultures, and their perspectives in relationship to internalisation of the clocks of time, namely those first discussed by Edward T. Hall in "The Silent Language", those values locally have been subverted globally, being so closely and intimately linked to operations, production, and sales. I am only a mouthpiece of such a "fait-accompli chicken-littleism" and sceptics need only require a review of articles like 'Supply Chain Shackles: Globalisation, Human Resource Management, and the Flexibilisation of Labour' presented at the Irish Academy of Management Annual Conference, Walterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland in September 2002 by Dr. Mark Rix, Graduate School of Business and Development, University of Wollongong to take the word of a real academic, one possessed of the research skills to continue to progress in his chosen discipline, utilising the full resources which certain centres of higher learning richly disburse.
Rix quotes Herman Knudsen in observation of (MNEs) or Multinational Enterpises and (TNCs) Transnational Corporations that from as early as 1996, there were about 44,000 TNCs globally. These "parents" controlled nearly 280,000 affiliated enterprises (read suction-cupped tentacles) with about 37,000 nationally based in the largest fourteen major OCED nations with 90% holding head offices in the developed world.
The influence these corporations have on global national cultures cannot be underestimated. Quite simply, you cannot separate values from paychecks. If a culture does not EAT (retain earnings after taxes) it dies. Rix quotes Malhotra (1998) to say, "1% of TNCs now account for 50% of world FDI"(Foreign Direct Investment). Such figures have had nearly a decade to increase. Furthermore, "70% of global trade is controlled by a mere 500 TNCs." Another figure with eight years of increases. Now register the personal savings rates of Joe or Joanna Blow in developed nations to get a sense of their true roles in such outstanding global expansions. Fairly deliberately, their individual compulsions to consume far beyond their means has been extentuated by a smaller and smaller portion of the profits.
These are only the fully documented linkages of FDI, and as De Soto suggests more than half of a developing economy can exist extra-legally, then such a supposition could be made that as for these figures, extralegal parental controls must implicate actually higher rates of affiliations and indirect control of supply chain subsidiaries among TNCs globally. There are few ways to escape such a supposition and equally few ways to empirically prove it is so. Same with the giant squid hypothesis? I think eventually one was caught on film? It is that portion of the economic iceberg which furthermore does not generate tax benefits or support minimum labour rights or standards.
Rix quotes Knudsen (2001) that large corporations employ nearly 1 in 5 employees in developed nations, and with legitimate, empirical data provides subcontracting and franchise operations which increases the proportions of that figure to about two-fifths. Given Canada's high rates of government employment (Canada being my little pet...), and the possibility that actual data does not always reflect true values, such as those true values of gold in developing world communities, I would posit that nearly the entire non-government workforce of a country like Canada, or a digging, resource-based economy, is directly or indirectly employed by TNCs. Which explains why I have an affinity for Swiss watches?
If you hear an alarm-ringing in your head on such proportional influences on global national cultures, it is quite late (the mountains in far flung Sumatra being already quite bald) and it is only because TNCs have hijacked the benefits of cross-cultural research and continued to build their empires on the backs and bridges first built out of concerned anthropologists like Edward T. Hall and the theories they espoused. While there is research to support little effect upon local cultures due to TNC expansionism, I still have a hard time avoiding a niggling, spider-sense feeling that our global cultures are little more than rasping mouths for smaller and smaller hamburgers (read products and services), with fewer and fewer choices of culturally determined glaze-like sauces.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

It Is About Time (Review Part Seven)

It Is About Time (Review Part Seven) The Silent Language (Edward T. Hall) 1959

In Chapter Nine, Hall returns to his discussion of perceptions of time as he has fully revealed some of the processes and technical tools useful for analysis of this topic on a cross-cultural basis. Hall begins with an explanation of how Americans use and communicate with time. He further notes that it takes up to twelve years for children to understand time. That the internalization of cultural time details and emotional underpinnings require more than a decade to absorb.
Following his categorization of cultural patterns, Hall posits that cultural values associated with time may fall into three categories themselves. That within these exist sets and subsets, isolates, and patterns of time arrangements dependent upon culture and he defines nine different types of time patterns. For the technical, one may refer to astronomers or astrological mystics, fully dependent on a culture's prioritizing of empirical or subjective evidences in determining technical competencies. Hall gets technical himself to no reader's surprise, and defines the length of a year dependent upon which discrete/precise year is being measured.
As of 1959:
Tropical or Solar Year: 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 45.51 seconds plus a fraction.
Sidereal Year: 365 days, 6 hours, 9 minutes, 9.54 seconds.
Anomalistic year: 365 days, 6 hours, 13 minutes, 53.1 seconds.
Hall demonstrates that the formality of time measurement is strictly dependent on variables of cultural influences, "the judgemental pickings" in particular, the measurement methods, the particular year in question, and the acceptability or the reliability of its empirical details, such as a basis in hard scientific data for some. He them moves on to explain how the day has evolved as a deeply rooted concept in the west with primarily two isolates: day and night. This is further segmented into morning, noon, and night. All of the activities thus routinely performed, much like rituals of the day, fit into these periods. Then in the western calendar there exist seven variations on the day. These are fairly obvious concepts for a layman and might appear redundant. However it takes children far longer to perceptualize minutes, hours, or seconds. For regional farmers in non-developed nations observing the stars through a pair of oxen yolks such concepts as minutes, and hours, or the emotional requirements western culture has apportioned to them, might appear strange, unfamiliar, and fairly redundant as well.
Hall demonstrates that the requirements of human awareness of smaller discrete sets of time have kept pace with technological developments, in particular the keeping of appointments, schedules or the like, intimately connected not only to the growth of production line process manufacturing and associated terms like productivity but the individualisation of timepieces which such assemby lines provided, themselves capable of running fast, slow, or "on time".
Informal isolates like urgency concerning time management have varying degrees of predominancy not only within regional cultural groups, but most often give rise to easily made cross-cultural comparisons. As Hall works his way through western concepts on discrete sets of time intervals such as five/ten/or twenty minutes, he works his way back to the seasons, large, naturally determined sets of time, those determined entirely by nature. For this reason seasons exist with duality as a formal and informal cultural set. Hall suggests that cultural variations concerning time are the hardest dynamics in cross-cultural communication especially difficult to grasp for westerners, that over three-quarters of the planet does not so heavily categorize time sets and are thus running time patterns which are decidely not determined by Swiss time pieces but are incongrous, asyncronous, not necessarily possessed of depth or historical character which may easily correspond to a western concept of time.
However, as one may observe fairly easily, those nations which have taken on export-driven economic growth models must quickly discard local cultural time sets for production cycles, demands, and deliveries which must meet customer expectations to ensure continued trade. In fact, quick assimilation of local cultural precepts concerning time is often marketed as progress. Japanese time management might be considered the best in the world in many respects precisely if one considers how completely its national culture may have been early sublimated to serve its western customers. One might suggest that the cultural matrix which existed in Japan from the 1880's period onward helped guarantee the success of Japanese time management adaptations. Furthermore, the attendant growth rates in regional export dominated economies globally grows dependent upon increasing time management efficiency in the workforce which implicates national culture as well. If one nation's total economic success depends upon trade growth, local national cultural values regarding time necessarily are sacrificed and streamlined to permit entry to a greater economic world of international competitiveness. However it all appears to implicate a tuning of regional cultural time sets, patterns, and isolates, to the western clocks.
The point at which the developing world really began to assimilate western time into their national cultural identities must be precisely and specifically noted. In particular, everyone possibly has an anecdote regarding a personal relationship to time. Mine is that my first watches were handily provided with easy to manipulate technology, such as hour and minute hands; easily rolled back on early spring or summer evenings, plainly faulty, defensible explanation for late home-comings.
My first provisioning of a digital watch was a decidely more precise measurement of time. It was one of hundreds piled up at the spring exhibition and selling for five dollars. It was difficult to adjust, and by that time, I was fully assimilated to western cultural concepts of time anyway. If I was late, I could no longer blame my watch for it. That watch was, "Made in Korea" and helped define in my mind Korea's jump from maker of cheap, easily breakable plastic toys to rudimentary electronics. I almost do not doubt that a Korean marketing frenzy for digital watches, and the object of making them pervasive at that time, was as rushed as the current market-driven pervasiveness of the latest cellular phone technology.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Non-Relative Exemplificationary Evidences of Cultural Descriptiveness

Non-Relative Exemplificationary Evidences of Cultural Descriptiveness
(Review Part Six) The Silent Language (Edward T. Hall) 1959

My first admission regarding such a monstrous title for this little article is based on my passing usury of amazon reviews to gauge roughly whether or not I should proceed and purchase my next title, long or short. However I reviewed what those readers had to say about this book probably about a year ago or so and I was slightly unimpressed. Too many of those reviews appear tossed off without much in the way of qualifying depth of analysis. So "Joe Blow" says this one is good, that one dry, this cracker is stale, etc. What exactly does "Joe" or "Joanna Blow" actually know? I got in a lot of trouble about a year ago for telling the friend of a friend, "Look, I am not going to let some chick tell me that I do not know what I am talking about." Which to me means that opinions, personal ones, they may be useful in talking about personal preferences, fashion tastes and so on, but not about complex values orientations, or more specifically, the methods by which cultural values systems are effectively hijacked by corporate growth globally and dynamically. I humbly realize chicks are not always ready for such perspectives. Not without further qualification.
It seems often the reviews one finds on book-sellers sites are notably brief and usually hastily assembled pronouncements upon diverse topics. Sound familiar? In particular, one reviewer was quick to dismiss Hall's theories as a bit dated based on examples he used to describe early attempts at describing patterns differences among Japanese businessmen assembling in The USA at the turn of the century. Hall had referred to antiquated status setting among American men for example and the sharing of cigars in particular and so on to determine patterns of informal or hierarchical cultural standards setting. Some readers fairly dismiss relevancy based on such a shallow reading or interpretation of the arguments Hall has put forth in this text. Ditto for anything longer than a page in TV Guide these days?
OK, sure there are few cigar chomping businessmen out there today among the herd-like sterility espoused in the standardized modern Starbucks Coffee Houses mentality-set and their blanketing of all healthy values with their own specialized, self-satisfying, deluded, marketing terms such as "well-being", "dolphin-friendly", or the most erronously famous, "Not tested on animals." Ask the WTO about the fishermen who swear they saw no dolphins when they canned that tuna. However, the paleontologist does not begin to critically dismiss whole portions of the fossil record out of, for example, status quo "Beetle-Bop Man On the Street" claims that a
pterodactyl's wings are too wide to have been useful for early reptilian flight. Few critically claim that systems such as MS Dos have no use to the current generation of systems which collect and arrange themselves as a house of cards upon its basic, pondering, slow and susceptible to crashing nature. Complicated concepts just get more dissing.
So too, one should not disregard the early, perhaps rudimentary systems of analysis of cultural comparitives which helped spawn this mangy and great global macro-economic corporate universe called modern international business today. Without those cigar chompers and analysts, and methodological analysis of such things, many creature comforts, perhaps primarily those due to perceptual inabilities (stubborn unwillingness) to formulate logic-based individual research or "bony flight" in the areas of cultural comparatives among the strictly New York Times Crossword completers, many things like WWW would probably not exist as we take it for granted daily. Let some stoning begin? Not exactly. Let that opinionated chick know it takes more than an opinion to assemble and profit from cultural comparatives. Let that chick spend years of her life rolling over research stones to see what wiggles and squeaks down there under her toes and seemingly beyond her past or current frames of experience to at times take my roving word for it.
Learning is more often about being wrong than right and in my case chicks do not like being referred to in the third person. Nor do they like being called chicks anymore I guess. Ask me if that is not equally true for teaching. It is the perpetual log in one's own eye which each should be reaching for fundamentally to grasp new, challenging, or unfamiliar topics or how to disseminate them. Fop Siderius, my neighbourhood school bus driver from decades past was a considered motivator one summer who teaches me still. Dreading every day of jazz band music practice due to difficult new notes and rifts, I admitted to him alone that I just wanted to quit and never go back. He kind of scrunched his eyebrows together and said, "Danny if everything was easy would you want to do it? Then you would be bored." So above everything else at this time I remember that in reference to attempts at simplifying in my own mind what already appears fairly simply written by Edward T. Hall in "The Silent Language."
Namely where are the patterns of culture within which one resides and with which one may compare, specifically if the samples up for comparison are determined historically at different rates of relative values, on scales of variation within which in themselves changes in relevancy are in complete dependance upon current filtered concepts of what constitutes cultural relatedness on a historically perceived scale of development in terms of patterns? I think such examples as the dated cigar chompers fairly prove the point that cultural patterns really are out there in such layered conceptions, too quickly dismissed as irrelevant to the present reader perhaps on a smoothly cracked, surface type analysis. Am I taking the snowflake symbolism a little too far here? Stubbornly I think not. Plus they are fairly beautiful to analyze and even just appreciate as themselves. They hover for a moment and then are gone. Cultures are composites of such individual perceptions.
Similarly I believe humans easily assemble patterns of cultural values through environmental influences which are continuously recompared to status quo norms, contexts and events, which are then reaffirmed or discarded, among many, through the general prospects of peer pressure influences or concensus-building efforts which implicate the old debate on the actual terms of insanity or sanity at conscious and unconscious levels. Particularly how much of conscious self is actually a filtered cultural precept? Communal values allow a certain flexibility in the determination of same or different. Though the individual may waver along a context of the formally familiar, points and borders of acceptable formality and samenesses or differences exist. So Hall discusses three sets of organizing patterns in culture.
Namely, patterns are highlighted within characters like the tired cigar-chompers as exemplifiers of status and a facet of a first formal and hierarchical organizing precept. It exists among individuals as amorphous thematics and provocation of conflicts among some, defined by evolving rates of competitiveness over time, particularly the corporate kind which increasingly appears only to value status defined by increasing focus on outstanding displays of increased sales rates, growth rates, or productivity rates. To the extent that the standards of acceptable variation, among human individuals in a working environment, are increasingly applied and pressured to meet lean-time or JIT concepts of zero defects possible only among computers or super-workers, an impossible outcome on general human terms of falliability. Structurally formal patterns only reveal themselves when an individual is perceived to have broken any of them. So corporate cultural precepts of status, as their bloated heads reveal, have taken on a whole new method of driving cultural perspectives on success which would make Fredrick Taylor envious.
Hall then goes on to illustrate the formality of cultural patterns with an example concerning Middle Eastern bargaining patterns. Often this example feels familiar to me due to my work experience in the Middle East and the context Hall portrays makes me suspect that he was mostly hanging around busy tourist markets scribbling on a postcard where his model would be obviously relevant. My own experience of local markets leads me to generally apply market principles which he has possibly not noted.
Firstly, any bargainer who does not know the market price for a product especially in the Middle East is obviously going to get scalped. The only way to really buy in the Middle East, in my humble opinion, is to window shop profusely. Very carefully observing the way by which a salesman accepts your bargaining behaviour or comparison shopping, the more quickly one may determine the bargaining process through which Hall exemplifies cross-cultural concessionary and negotiating conduct. Then, in my experience I have evolved repeat business to the same seller over a period of years to maximize the trade relationship which is determined by a personal commitment to repeat business in many developing nations and minimize future prices. A first price is often not a determinant of value, as well, a first purchase is almost never a determinant of future prospective best prices. One must often simply choose carefully the seller worth repeat business to maximize value.
Hall examines the canard of the Aswan Dam bargaining process by which an originally American-backed project was gunneled out for Russian backing instead. The second aspect of hierarchical patterns, those considered informal are even harder to imagine than the formal ones, similar to the impact of coming up upon a vast lake in the middle of an even vaster desert, as on a direct flight down The Nile to Abu Simbel where Lake Nasser persistently shimmers and evaporates. He posits that rules for grammar, for example the can-may distinction can be traced to cultural values once applied to the polite speech apportioned to men or women in western societies, which remain informally fairly distinctive, but through which formal constructions of cultural grammar determinations have been based. Thrown or rolled out upon and interwoven (or under) the worked patterns akin to hundreds of stitches per square inch that one may carefully discern in a qoom carpet reflect gathered, silken ties of technical cultural underpinnings discernable (?) in patterns.
Ordering Patterns
Then Hall determines that laws of order exist which define culture similarly to meanings such as: "The cat caught the mouse." Word formation and sentence formation exemplify cultural orders such as those of birth, lining up for tickets, dinner courses, etc. He tips lightly upon the cross-cultural challenges in terms of order-taking for westerners in foreign countries, order according to status often not in a first-come first-served basis. He notes Pueblo societies often order according to people, situations, or status but rarely simultaneously. These would illustrate diversity of order normatives.
Selection Patterns
Combinations of sets are determined in selection determinants such as which side of the road cars drive upon, which may change over time and implicate patterns with knots and frays where selection most applies. Describing buffet breakfast options and the variations available on a regional basis exemplifies that people may all eat breakfast as a repetitive pattern but not always the same components of foods, so too in cultural selection patterns. This implicates global patterns of primary message systems according to Hall where custom versus logic may most dictate a particular pattern. It demonstrates arbitrary binding to a culture with little room for variation.
The most difficult to perceive according to Hall is the congruence patterning of culture or the patterning of patterns. He claims it is exactly what writers seek in the expression of voice, and implies human reactions similar to awe or ecstasy, which explains my fondness for simplification of these terms and ideas with patterns type images, large chunk-like reference points for the human mind to perhaps elementally grasp Hall-ist patterns descriptions which might otherwise feel or seem quite pedantic.
A devoidness of congruence would appear fairly unworldly to any member of a culture. Hall expresses congruence in terms of dress and clothing standards, for example an Inuit would not show up at the blow hole with a loin cloth. He also posits that incongruity is often the basis of many jokes which require native proficiency in a language to find the humour in them (particularly if the joke is actually funny as often they rarely are anyway).
Hall makes one of his funniest comments regarding congruity in terms of mediums of literature and context. For example the styles of expression in writing is often determined by the discipline, be it newspaper or journalistic writing versus scientific writing or typical froth-blog platitudes type fluff, diary topics, or the most boring of types, the exploratory or expositional review-type blog. He quotes Harry Stack Sullivan, a once prominent psychiatrist as describing his own attempts in writing as imagining that his sentences appraiser was a cross between, "an imbecile and a bitterly paranoid critic. " Coincidentally, does that describe you? Or me?
Hall then goes on to explain extreme congruity is rarely achieved on a cultural level, where everything fits between communicator and intended audience (note critics and imbeciles). Thus he considers that when it does come about it is the result of true artistry, exhibited in cultural intangibles, masterpieces in art, literature or sculpture which touch heavily upon some congruence, perhaps the inhabited silences of immortality which artists tend to occupy. I would dare to say our corporate global entities are squeezing much out of the mantra, "I'm not like everybody else" a little too heavily for it actually to be completely true these days. How many living artists or individuals have a right to justly unproven (by centuries of cultural weathering) congruent eloquence? To believe I understand it proves little of congruent value and much of corporate insistence that I indeed be exactly like everyone else. Realizing this who thus accrues profits?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Les Paroles D'Évangéline

"Évangéline" est un chanson de Michel Conte avec une interprétation par Marie-Jo Thério sur :
Les images de la vielle Acadie

Paroles et Musique: Michel Conte
1971 "Heureuse"
Les étoiles étaient dans le ciel
Toi dans les bras de Gabriel
Il faisait beau, c'était dimanche
Les cloches allaient bientôt sonner
Et tu allais te marier
Dans ta première robe blanche
L'automne était bien commencé
Les troupeaux étaient tous rentrés
Et parties toutes les sarcelles
Et le soir au son du violon
Les filles et surtout les garçons
T'auraient dit que tu étais belle
Évangéline, Évangéline
Mais les Anglais sont arrivés
Dans l'église ils ont enfermé
Tous les hommes de ton village
Et les femmes ont dû passer
Avec les enfants qui pleuraient
Toute la nuit sur le rivage
Au matin ils ont embarqué
Gabriel sur un grand voilier
Sans un adieu, sans un sourire
Et toute seule sur le quai
Tu as essayé de prier
Mais tu n'avais plus rien à dire
Évangéline, Évangéline
Alors pendant plus de vingt ans
Tu as recherché ton amant
À travers toute l'Amérique
Dans les plaines et les vallons
Chaque vent murmurait son nom
Comme la plus jolie musique
Même si ton cœur était mort
Ton amour grandissait plus fort
Dans le souvenir et l'absence
Il était toutes tes pensées
Et chaque jour il fleurissait
Dans le grand jardin du silence
Évangéline, Évangéline
Tu vécus dans le seul désir
De soulager et de guérir
Ceux qui souffraient plus que toi-même
Tu appris qu'au bout des chagrins
On trouve toujours un chemin
Qui mène à celui qui nous aime
Ainsi un dimanche matin
Tu entendis dans le lointain
Les carillons de ton village
Et soudain alors tu compris
Que tes épreuves étaient finies
Ainsi que le très long voyage
Évangéline, Évangéline
Devant toi était étendu
Sur un grabat un inconnu
Un vieillard mourant de faiblesse
Dans la lumière du matin
Son visage sembla soudain
Prendre les traits de sa jeunesse
Gabriel mourut dans tes bras
Sur sa bouche tu déposas
Un baiser long comme ta vie
Il faut avoir beaucoup aimé
Pour pouvoir encore trouver
La force de dire merci
Évangéline, Évangéline
Il existe encore aujourd'hui
Des gens qui vivent dans ton pays
Et qui de ton nom se souviennent
Car l'océan parle de toi
Les vents du sud portent ta voix
De la forêt jusqu'à la plaine
Ton nom c'est plus que l'Acadie
Plus que l'espoir d'une patrie
Ton nom dépasse les frontières
Ton nom c'est le nom de tous ceux
Qui malgré qu'ils soient malheureux
Croient en l'amour et qui espèrent
Évangéline, Évangéline
Évangéline, Évangéline

Monday, April 10, 2006

A Last Blast On West's Chaucer

The beauty of reading diffuse texts, real books, the bound and paper-type that you can pack around with you is that you can trundle through, back through, over, and again dump them back on the shelf and let them gather dust in the mind whenever and wherever you like. You can really bulldozer about in the topics of books, perhaps learning gears and landscaping. To get closure on a text often takes numerous read-throughs if you are really trying to assimilate some selected knowledge and trying to percolate out a taste of its possible teachings. While (hopefully) I get to trace out a few related ideas through ruminations upon these stacks (with a little time left for mental fermentation which some topics richly deserve) I always discover midterms preparations come earlier than I expected. So I leave tail pieces on a few topics that need finishing, as a final flipper or fin for the soup to gnaw upon while I pretend that I am distracting myself or forgeting my paid duties.
I deferred writing upon the final chapter of Richard West's "Chaucer 1340-1400: The Life and Times of The First Poet" simply out of awareness that I would have something left to write about this account of a pioneer poet. Something certainly remains to be said about poetry in general, and poets in particular which West obviously has not pandered to. It would leave me to debate and procrastinate on his apparent omission.
The most important point is that very few poets have nothing to contribute to societies in general and the modern age in particular and Chaucer would obviously be singularly the first among all of them in the English language; he remains the best example of this essential aspect of poets and poetry in English. Necessary and essential if simply as rude alarms for cultural asphyxia. Yes, a tolerance and respect for poets and poetry has always served the same purposes as a barometer or a yellow canary in a coal mine. Forget that Chaucer was a fairly cosily ensconsed royal court clerk. He spent enough time praising his cheque-writers that in modern times he might just be a regular corporate ladder climber let alone an artist of note. His artistry in words is obviously contrasted to the somewhat less wordy artistry required of successful business people in the developed world today. They may not be running around blurting out rhyming couplets, but they certainly seem to relish the spare arrows or beheadings of corporate safe guards, government regulations, continuing to quiver the fine feathers of graft, and the rallying, whispering salvos of scandal and corruption, so little actually seen, and the severance of human rights workers standards from consumer concepts of quality and product or service values at the same time. Namely, they no longer mind that their bards say almost nothing about their antics and they find it harder and harder to perceive or intrinsically remember what bards actually do.
Without them cultures may be said to wither and quite die in business mindsets. It is hard to say if poets have issued a full retreat to the hills of developed world business society because of the exploits of their purely business-minded colleagues, especially the kinds which might once have been considered "up-start crows" as Shakespeare might have once supported through his own contributions. Remember even that bard was penning cheap plays for charnel house spectators, he was bound to stir up a few critics. But in Chaucer's case, the argument is that gilded poets are merely the first phalanx of sacrificed artists, who know their proper places, the first fired, the last hired, chiefly and principally among the gilded meats and graceful lilys of thrashing, savage, highly unromantic cultures. That artistic/creative types are actually valued in corporate culture should be fairly obviously a misconception as they hold a pride of exception. It is all mostly talk a moulding of or remoulding of the definitions of culture, little real writing on the topic. But I would suppose that that which is truly creative and artistic still remains fairly inscrutable and thus unprofitable. Best to write to please the masters and create something unique upon the side?
As of Chaucer's life and times, the land grabs and tax grabs, the massacres, the burnt-out French, what more did the English really have to take righteous pride in attaining other than some croking and fanciful first verses? Namely, their own language burbled into being out of this poet, their own language dabbler printed out a legacy for them, namely Chaucer at the helm. Such a poet in a dissimilar setting excluding that of the English might have otherwise been considered dreary, drab, morose, uninspired or even an unreadable ape. He may have been perceived similarly to vast copses of literature today, and our dung and heaps of previously realised, pre-modern human knowledge, all lit by dint of age or crust of foreign accents and deemed worthless as a result. All deemed irrelevant or unreadable seemingly by most, much as of vast previous prominent cultures risen, fallen and long past. I would only exclude the English from such dismissiveness, in haughty irony here out of West's insistence that the English uphold strongly the characteristics of:
1. tolerance (or indifference)
2. self-deprecation (or arrogance)
3. diffidence (or standoffishness)
So the English take a few of their writers jokingly, have seriously considered them as cultural intangibles, but never really? West even drags Orwell's ghost into his observance that Chaucer possibly similarly reveled in his countrymen and their general inability or ill desire to remain abreast of the world at large particularly in any expectiation that they should then take the world on the world's own terms. The English are no strangers among many national cultural identities; it would be simply impossible to remove the glasses through which each may appear somehow in stasis, unchanging, ever immobile, impermeable to foreign influences or observation. But perhaps it is in "The Complaint of Chaucer to His Purse" that one sees or reads the real reason for the demise of the court poet or jester in modern times.
In an accounting dominated assessment, these poets have proven simply too costly a luxury to calculate. Not easily deciphered; they continue to amuse? However their language remains forever the backdrop upon which this bastard language so heavily appears to lean.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Hunting and Organizing Patterns Out of the Elusive Isolate (Part Five)

Hunting and Organizing Patterns Out of the Elusive Isolate (Part Five)
Review of the Silent Language (Edward T. Hall) 1959

Hall determines that isolates of culture are abstractions or phantoms simply because their presence is similar to organic molecules which can only be postulated theoretically and upon close examination in the format of analysis of sets or markers which quickly become perceived to exist as sets of and upon themselves. As structural components, cultural isolates exist as building blocks without perceptual structure. This is all exemplified most simply by the examination of words being composed of sets of sounds, in sets intelligible as words, but independently consisting as unintelligible, culturally homeless verbalizations. Thus precison in the study of cultural isolates is described as, "one can only be precise on one analytical level at a time and then only for a moment."

Isolates reveal themselves as being more like discreet categories of sets, for example that there are systems of sound recognition on language to language comparisons which are binding standards of communication which thoroughly applies to cultural boundaries. Hall expresses the influence these boundaries play out over time as significant as the effects of learning a first language and immersion in a first culture will play upon learning new languages or further perspectives or immersions in foreign cultures. He claims the first language and culture invariably accents subsequent languages and cultural immersion.

What binds or is boundary in culture therefore is not the pervasive sets themselves but in the melding of isolates and patterns which are exactly difficult to analyze which scientifically denotes theoretical development and empirical elements in the study of cultural patterns. However from an analytical perspective, what is required is structural points of reference around which behaviour clustering occurs, through which normal members of a culture may distinguish comparative or contrastive distinctiveness between dissimilar events such as A or B. Hall makes clear all that is required to distinguish certain patterns of cultural behaviour is for normal participants to be able to identify similarity or comparison-like differences in discreet sets, such as making the simple distinction of "same" or "different". This is a simple process of making cross-cultural comparisons on a scientific level which has proven useful.

Hall skirts around the theory of isolates, as they are an abstraction, to describe them fairly as the building blocks of culture, necessarily few in number, but in their congruity with sets, exist seemingly on an infinite variation of sets. All of these sets are then bound within systems, becoming sets only when they are removed or studied independently. Furthermore, while sets may be examined and compared across cultures, their meaning is only relevant within original cultural contexts which contain them. Hall notes that it is not the sets, but the isolates of culture contained within them that make differentiation between cultural patterns possible.

In Chapter Eight, Hall examines "The Organizing Pattern" of cultures and makes particular resounding statements about the meaning of experience. Most important, perhaps secondary to his studies on time, are his points of view on experience. Hall notes that experience is an abstract reference which cannot be fully excised from its dependancy on culture. In fact, that individual experience itself is perceived to be understood among others. But that its dynamic is based clearly upon perception, and the variation of perception of experience is as various as there are living members of a culture and any individual perceptions on any particular experience are invariably linked to cultural precepts and values. Hall may be quoted, "Experience is something humans project upon the outside world as they gain it in culturally determined form."

Perhaps as a result of western cultural perceptions of the freedoms of the individual, one might suspect that the results of enlightenment theories and the perceived freedoms of the individual as a result have merely developed more and more individuals who claim to know more and more about their own personal perspectives perhaps at an intrinsic cost, a blindness to the boundaries of culturally bound experience. As a result, it only appears that collectively, more and more individuals seek to espouse individual dynamics of culture on an informal level with the intention of formalizing those amorphous, abstract principles of behaviour or ethics upon the culture at a more formalized level through force of will, which is not quite possible. However culturally bound experiences prevent such a shift from taking place. Perhaps this is a failure of individuals to perceive experience as being culturally bound, tied, or intimately, infinitely linked to cultural patterns, laws, order, selection, and congruence as Hall posits, inbuilt within their own psyches.

Hall further explains that once one becomes aware that these boundaries exist, one may in some way, become liberated from their ties. In particular, his example regarding a man's attraction to a woman is interesting. Such a man may want to invite her out on a date. Under such circumstances there are various dynamics at play, such as choice of language, gifts he may give to her, hours he may call upon her, clothing he may wear, and the ultimate say generally residing on the woman's preferences which are fairly limited as choices that he may make. His only real choice is to act on his attraction and initiate his desire for a date.

However in many cultures, the actions of a single woman implicate more than the individuals. A family's honour may rest on a woman being virginal or chaste until marriage, thus a possible implication of her accepting such an invitation might be death. So differences in behaviour, even in what is commonly perceived as dating in some cultures might have dynamically different consequences in another culture. Thus Hall exemplifies that the conventions of culture are often existant without individual choices or informal variations but exist so constantly that these are not even recognized as rules.

Hall exemplifies his theories with reference to Benjamin Whorf who used language to explain deep rules which implicate thoughts and behaviour. Similarly Geert Hofstede refers to culture as the programming of the mind. Both namely support the conclusion that culture actually is resoundingly experience, and that experience does not really exist outside of that relationship. As a result Hall doubts that experience is actually ever shared between individuals or that there are any constants of experience which may be measured or, most importantly, judged on individual comparisons. That cultures, carefully review this relativists, as it appears to be correct, cultural values are only relative on patterns levels.

Relativists should really read deconstructionists like Derrida simply to see how ridiculous over-reliance on relativity tends to be. Hall examines the evidence to suggest that all of humanity has nearly completely limited or absolutely no contact with direct experience. That direct experience is merely a set of patterns which stream consciousness and thoughts to codify reactions, while individuals with different sets of patterns and cultural values will react differently under the same conditions.

Hall quotes Whorf:

"...we all hold an illusion about talking, an illusion that talking is quite untrammeled and spontaneous an merely 'expresses' whatever we wish to express. This illusionary appearance results from the fact that the obligatory phenomena within apparently free flow of talk are so completely autocratic that the speaker and listener are bound unconsciously as though in the grip of a law of nature." (Hall: 1959, 120)

Hall defines three types of hierarchical patterns existant and examinable cross-culturally:

1. Order/ 2. Selection/ 3. Congruence

Quite simply, does one really ever experience anything without first filtering through cultural values? According to Hall, it is simply impossible to deconstruct experience from hard-wired for life cultural programming.