top of page

Atelier spirituel pour avril-mai 2024 - Valeurs culturelles


Valeurs culturelles - avril et mai 2024


In the series of topics on Virtues and Values, we have covered spiritual virtues and personal values. In this topic (the last in the series), we delve into cultural values.


As we review various cultural values together, it is our intent to explore the diversity with curiosity, appreciation, and love while avoiding any judgment. As a worldwide organisation, Connecting Consciousness has ‘family members’ around the world, and this topic provides the perfect opportunity to learn more about other areas and cultures and to celebrate our similarities and differences. It can also further our understanding of how humans can live well using different sets of ethical, moral, and legal values.


In looking at cultural values, we dive deeper into humanity and how we live in different ways around the world, in part based on the land and resources, including food, space, and other natural resources. Money, the class system, and the area where one resides play a role as well. Humans have evolved in each continent, country, and region, which all have their own unique characteristics developed by personal values from the ‘collective people’ in any given area. This is part of the beauty and diversity within humanity.


Cultural values give people a sense of identity and help individuals bond together within a community/region/country/continent. They provide connections to one’s ancestors, family, and other people in the community. As cultural values are passed from generation to generation, they provide a sense of worth and where one fits in the world. Cultural values contribute to one's foundational values, the values we learn from family, traditions, schools, spiritual institutions, communities, etc.


Cultural values can be a source of support and guidance when one doesn’t know what to do or how to fit in. Cultural values can provide a sense of belonging and strength when one aligns with said values. However, when one doesn’t align with the values of their culture, it can cause challenges. This can also cause difficulties for newcomers into a culture when they are not easily accepted because they have different ways and values.

Most cultures have come up with their own unique ‘standards’. The way these cultural values have evolved over time is a complex process and has typically included a mix of protecting people and controlling people.  


Examples of cultural values from various continents and countries follow. For each of these we have provided both the official as well as traditional cultural values. The official values come from a government source, agency, recognized university research, and/or from the given country’s governmental constitution, which influences behaviours and values. The cultural values come from a variety of sources, including various research as well as from Connecting Consciousness (CC) members. We are mindful that we are not always comparing like for like when viewing the official and traditional values between countries.


We offer our heartfelt thanks to the CC Coordinators and members who assisted in researching and sharing cultural values for their respective region or country. We wish we could have included every country represented within CC. However, as we currently have members in over 190 countries/territories, this topic would be way too long if we did. We hope each of you will research, share, and discuss your unique country and regional values within your local Connecting Consciousness groups.


***

Country Values


Africa

African Official (South Africa) Values



The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa states that South Africa is a sovereign and democratic state founded on the following values (1):

  • Human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedom

  • Non-racialism and non-sexism

  • Supremacy of the Constitution

  • Universal adult suffrage (right to vote), a national common voters’ roll, regular elections and a multiparty system of democratic government to ensure accountability, responsiveness and openness.


African Traditional Cultural Values


Note that the African cultural values outlined below include a blend of the various countries and cultures within Africa. African traditional cultural values include:


  • Sense of Community — In traditional African religions and cultures, community is often the most important aspect of one’s life. One’s community consists of people who remember and share the same traditions that have been handed down throughout time. According to South African History Online, “the individual only exists within the community and separation from it is sometimes worse than death”. (2) 

  • Respect for Elders — African traditional religion and many cultures throughout Africa are based on passing oral traditions, values, ceremonies, and ways of life from generation to generation. According to South African History Online, this process allows for a cultural identity to pass from elders to younger generations, and that “the elders are the final authority and are trusted completely”. (3)


  • Concept of Time In Africa, time is structured based on norms of human activities and relationships rather than punctuality for the sake of being on time. In 1990, Mbiti wrote that for Africans, “...time is simply a composition of events which have occurred: which are immediately to occur... The most significant consequence of this is that, according to traditional concepts, time is a two-dimensional phenomenon, with a long past, a present and virtually no future. The linear concept of time in Western thought, with an infinite future, is practically foreign to African thinking”. (4)


  • Strong Religious & Spiritual Values — Many different religions are practised throughout Africa, including ATR (Africa Traditional Religion), which includes a belief in the guidance of the spirits of one’s ancestors and that these spirits regularly interact with the living. Spirituality is intertwined with religion and is more about how one lives their life and perceives their inner and outer worlds. 

  • Celebration of Life & Death — Africans love celebrations and gathering together in person (online communications and virtual gatherings are much less popular). Death is also honoured with funerals, wakes, mourning and remembering one’s ancestors. 


Asia

China

Chinese Official Values


In 2012, the central government and the Communist Party of China refined and formally put forward core socialist values that are “the soul of the Chinese nation and serve as the guide for building socialism with Chinese characteristics”. These values are to promote prosperity, democracy, civility, and harmony, uphold freedom, equality, justice and the rule of law and advocate patriotism, dedication, integrity, and friendship, so as to cultivate and observe core socialist values. (5)


Chinese Traditional Cultural Values


The Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre shares the values most treasured by the Chinese people:


  • Loyalty — This includes self-loyalty and being true to the principles one chooses to live by, as well as loyalty to family, friends, organisations, and the state. Confucianism advocates that loyalty is flexible and that one can respond to circumstances while staying true to one’s intentions.

  • Filial piety A child’s expression of gratitude toward his or her parents.

  • Kindness — This includes the concept of ‘ren’ or the ideal of being human and how to relate to others. Ren is closely related to empathy.

  • Love This includes compassion, self-love, and love in relationships. In the major Chinese religions and philosophies, love is a key concept. In Buddhism, the focus is on universal love; Confucianism looks at love through five cardinal relationships; and Taoism focuses on self-love, which must be mastered before one can truly love others.

  • Considerate Behavior This value focuses on rites and includes etiquette observed during various practices, which remind people of the importance of key virtues and values.

  • Righteousness Also known as Yi, righteousness is actions guided by justice and morality and includes the ability to know right from wrong.

  • Integrity Lian is the upstanding conduct of leaders and civil servants and the idea of being a positive role model.

  • Sense of Shame This is considered to be the foundation of all moral values. To avoid shame, one uses righteousness and integrity.

  • Thriftiness This concept applauds living a simple life and avoiding the traps of materialism.

  • Perseverance This concept is about endurance and not giving up, even when one must overcome challenges. (6)


Republic of Korea

ROK (South Korea) Official Values


South Korea’s Constitution adopts liberal democracy as its principle of governance. The Constitution guarantees:


  • People’s freedom and rights under various laws

  • Equal opportunities in all sectors, including politics, economy, society and culture

  • Stipulates that all people have an obligation to pay taxes, engage in national defense, educate their children, and work.


It also states that the country should endeavour to maintain international peace and that signed international treaties and generally accepted international laws have the same effects as domestic laws. Under the Constitution, the status of aliens is guaranteed in accordance with international laws and treaties. (7)


Korean Traditional Cultural Values


Korean culture and values are a blend of old and new. They are a mix of traditional culture based on Confucianism (the old) combined with the influence of Western material civilization (the new – introduced after the 20th century). Values include education, filial piety (children must respect and care for their parents), humility, harmony, collectivism (valuing the group over the individual), diligent work ethic, efficiency, and material prosperity. These values differ greatly by sex, age, and other demographics, with those under 30 significantly more influenced by Western cultures and values.


Europe

Britain (United Kingdom) 

British Official Values


In 2014, the UK government created five fundamental values and communicated them as the unifying values fundamental to British society and cohesion. These values were first outlined in the Prevent Strategy of 2011. The strategy’s purpose was to quell extremism. Both white nationalist and Islamic extremism were listed as threats to national unity within the Prevent Strategy document. The five fundamental values are:


  • Democracy

  • Rule of law

  • Individual liberty

  • Mutual respect

  • Tolerance. (8)


In 2014, it became required to implement these five fundamental values in British schools.


British Traditional Cultural Values


In doing a search to find traditional British values, we continually found the five values noted above as outlined by the government. Some of this may be tied to Britain’s long history, fighting for land, the rule of law, etc.


And yet, local communities have their own cultural values. These include a range of different religions, foods—Sunday’s meal is typically roast, while Fridays are fish day—and British people typically love pie and potatoes, and by the sea, fish and chips and ice cream. The everyday lives of the younger generations living in Britain are more concerned about fitting in with their peer group, trying to do well at work or school, and enjoying relaxation time on their own with friends and family. Socializing is an important aspect, and people tend to socialize within their own age groups even more so than within a family setting. For children, teenagers, and young adults, peer pressure is a key aspect of culture; it is overwhelmingly strong, especially with the advent of social media.


Italy

Italian Official Values


The Charter of Values of Citizenship and Integration created by the Scientific Council of the Ministry of Interior in Rome states that the values are enshrined in the Italian democratic Constitution of 1947 and are based upon “the respect of human dignity and inspired by the principles of freedom and equality for anyone living in the Italian territory”.


Highlights from the Italian Constitution’s values are: Human Dignity, Rights, and Duties (including every person is guaranteed the respect of his/her fundamental rights, regardless of his/her gender, ethnicity, religion and social condition; people are expected to respect the values on which the Italian society is based, the rights of the others, and the duties of solidarity envisaged by the law, and that men and women have equal dignity and enjoy the same rights inside and outside their own family); Social Rights in Work & Health (including condemning human exploitment, especially of women and children, not allowing harassment or discrimination, and ensuring immigrants also have the right to an adequate remuneration for their work, health, insurance, sick leave and retirement according to the provisions of the law); Social Rights in Schooling, Education, Information (including the right and duty of children and adolescents to attend compulsory school in order to integrate in the Italian society, recognition of the rights of the family as a natural society based on marriage and that marriage is based on equal rights and responsibilities of husband and wife and is monogamic); Secularism and Religious Freedom; and Italy’s International Commitment (to favour peace and respect all peoples in order to promote coexistence of nations, to defeat war and terrorism, and to protect all forms of life and the environment). (9)


Italian Traditional Cultural Values


Family and church are the two foundations of traditional Italian cultural values. Many Italian cultures are well known worldwide, including famous art, architecture, music, fashion, food, and wine. Italians are full of life and love to socialise and celebrate. Even day-to-day family gatherings are mini-celebrations because of their enthusiasm for spending time with family and friends. Social life tends to revolve around meals, as food is often equated with love and tradition in Italian culture. It is said that Italians live by the motto “Dolce Far Niente,” translated as “pleasant idleness” or “the sweetness of doing nothing.” This common saying references how Italians choose to enjoy and appreciate life, including its simple pleasures. Key traditional cultural values of the Italian people include family closeness, socialising, working hard (but working to live, not living to work), respecting the elderly and honouring their history and wisdom, arguing (for the sake of debating; common topics to argue include politics, soccer, and food), curiosity, and innovation.


Latin America

Latin American Official Values

Brazilian Official Values


The Constitution of the Federative Republic of Brazil outlines 34 “Individual and Collective Rights and Duties”. Among these are equal rights and duties for men and women; no one shall be compelled to do or refrain from doing something except by force of law; no one shall be submitted to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment; manifestation of thought is free, but anonymity is forbidden; freedom of conscience and belief is inviolable, assuring free exercise of religious beliefs; no one shall be deprived of any rights because of religious beliefs or philosophical or political convictions; expression of intellectual, artistic, scientific, and communication activity is free, independent of any censorship or license. To review additional rights and duties outlined in the Constitution, please see the footnote. (10)


Mexican Official Values


The United Mexican States Constitution entitles all individuals to various human rights and protections as granted in the Constitution and in international treaties. Among these rights are disallowing slavery and all forms of discrimination. Article 2 states that the Mexican Nation is “unique and indivisible” and that it is “multicultural, based originally on its indigenous peoples, described as descendants of those inhabiting the country before colonization and that preserve their own social, economic, cultural and political institutions, or some of them”. It further outlines that States’ and Federal districts’ constitutions and laws must recognise indigenous peoples and communities.


Specific rights for indigenous people are outlined in this Article, including but not limited to:


  • Decide their internal forms of coexistence, as well as their social, economic, political and cultural organisation

  • Apply their own legal systems to regulate and solve their internal conflicts

  • Elect, in accordance with their traditional rules, procedures and customs, their authorities or representatives to exercise their own form of internal government, guaranteeing the right to vote and being voted of indigenous women and men under equitable condition

  • Preserve and enrich their languages, knowledge and all the elements that constitute their culture and identity

  • Maintain and improve their environment and lands, according to the Constitution. (11)


Latin American Traditional Cultural Values (combined)


Latin Americans are all about family, community, friendship and spirituality. Once you are family, you are accepted with everything you are (often with little to no privacy), but trust and loyalty are expected and given. Happiness and love for life are predominant, as nobody knows what tomorrow brings. Life, violence and death are a constant in parts of Latin America, so love, music, dance and quality time spent with loved ones, in good times and bad, are always important and are put before everything. Life is precious and is celebrated as such”.—Rike Waldschmidt, Latin America Continental Coordinator


Brazilian Traditional Cultural Values


Brazilian values are centred around family, which is typically recognized as the most important component in Brazilian culture and the foundation of Brazil’s social structure. People of Brazil value family above everything else and create close-knit bonds. They have reverence for elder family members and maintain strong connections with extended family.


Brazilian cultural core concepts or values, according to the Cultural Atlas, include Expressiveness, Warmth, Diversity, Saudade (A combination of longing, nostalgia, and melancholy...which stimulates artistic expression), Loyalty, Solidarity, Pride, and Esperança (Hope). (12)


Mexican Traditional Cultural Values


In Mexico, the findings of a study from San Luis Potosi show that the most common values across all demographic groups are being honest and hard-working. This research outlines differences between various groups; urban residents consider themselves to be cheerful and risk-averse, whilst rural residents are economisers, hard-working, and sincere. The study concludes that it is difficult to define the values of all Mexicans based on the many subcultures that exist. (13)


The diversity in cultures, beliefs, customs, and the geographic area where one lives impacts values and traditions throughout the country. One strong shared value is respecting the cultural diversity within their land. Other common values include being well-mannered, kind, educated (in general), enjoying sharing knowledge and experiences, resourcefully dealing with catastrophes, and honouring the family unit. Mexican people tend to be warm, friendly, and kind-hearted and enjoy being in service to others.


Oceania

Australia

Australian Official Values


According to the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs, the values outlined in the Australian Values Statement (AVS) that visa applicants must sign are:


  • Respect for the freedom and dignity of the individual

  • Freedom of religion (including the freedom not to follow a particular religion), freedom of speech, and freedom of association

  • Commitment to the rule of law, which means that all people are subject to the law and should obey it

  • Parliamentary democracy whereby our laws are determined by parliaments elected by the people, those laws being paramount and overriding any other inconsistent religious or secular “laws”

  • Equality of opportunity for all people, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, race, or national or ethnic origin

  • A ‘fair go’ for all that embraces: mutual respect, tolerance, compassion for those in need, equality of opportunity for all

  • Recognising the English language as the national language and as an important unifying element of Australian society. (14)


Australian Traditional Cultural Values


The Australian community’s Cultural Atlas recognise the Indigenous people and nations of Australia as the traditional custodians of the land and that modern Australia was founded on the dispossession of First Nations people. In the 18th century, British settlers claimed the land as new territory of the British Crown. Since that time, mass immigration has changed the demographics of the population and formed a Western European cultural mainstream.


The Cultural Atlas outlined nine characteristics as core concepts (values) of the Australian people (15): Mateship; Egalitarianism (Egalitarian doctrines are generally characterized by the idea that all humans are equal in fundamental worth or moral status); (16) Authenticity; Optimism; Humility; Informality; Easy-going; Common sense; and Humour.


North America

American (USA) Official


Traditional American values come from The Declaration of Independence (1776), “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.


According to USAHello, a site designed to welcome new USA residents, the values most important to Americans today are: Independence and Self-Reliance, Equality, Individualism, Privacy, Democracy, Nationalism, Work Ethic and Merit, Directness, Innovation, Consumerism, Informality, and Time and Efficiency. (17)


According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Directness is defined as “straightforwardness” (18), and Consumerism as “a preoccupation with and an inclination toward the buying of consumer goods”. (19)


American (USA) Traditional Cultural Values


The United States of America is often referred to as a melting pot, a term that comes from the many different immigrants who relocated to America from various parts of the world. This diversity of origin significantly impacts American culture, bringing a variety of customs, beliefs, ideas, values, and ways of life. Other factors that impact the culture and values in America include geographic region, whether one lives in an urban, suburban, or rural area, age, education, and various other factors. Americans who reside in small, rural mid-western towns tend to value God, family, and a slower pace of life; people living in the suburbs focus on value, space, and opportunities for children, including the best schools; and residents of large cities like Manhattan value convenience, efficiency, and cultural opportunities. Peer pressure is a major influence on children, teenagers, and young adults, especially when it comes to socialising (in person or on social media), education, sports, and fashion.


A universal and iconic part of American culture is to live the ‘American Dream’, the concept that by working hard, parents can give their children a better life, and their children can give their children a better life and so on, resulting in each generation becoming more prosperous than the previous. While most Americans continue to believe in the American Dream, the gap between the wealthy and the rest of the population continues to expand.


***

Throughout time, humanity has developed its own cultural values all around the world. Across the continents, there are common themes of love, support, family, community, respect, and celebration within the traditional cultural values.


Within the official values that governments, institutions, and corporations place on us, there are common themes of individualism, conformity, equality, and behavioural control, which are more about controlling people’s behaviour and managing situations in the workplace or communal places.


What are your thoughts about the official and traditional cultural values as outlined for your area? If your area was not included above, how would you describe the values of your community/region/country? You can research the values of your local and country governments, schools, religions, and any organisations you belong to and contemplate how these compare to your community’s values and your own personal values.


How do you think the various official standards developed? Are there other official standards that represent your area? Do you believe these accurately represent the people in your region, and do they resonate with you? In looking at the values and constitutions outlined by governments worldwide, there are many similarities. Why do you think this is? Could they be more connected to a global influence rather than the true traditional cultural values?


Official cultural values have been decided and imposed on us, even though they don’t necessarily reflect the values of those who are in control. These are values officials have given to us, but they are not always the values they hold and work with. What are the real values of the politicians in your region, and how does this align with or differ from your own values and the values of ‘we the people’?


Sometimes official values do not truly reflect the culture of the area. They can be framed from a legal perspective and reflective of current official trends or narratives. In some regions, we are fed a list of criteria and values that do not necessarily align with our personal values. We need to be mindful of this and honest with ourselves about what our values are and what really matters to us, not only at a personal level but also for our vision of how we want humanity to move forward in our area of influence.


To be sovereign, we must understand ourselves, our values, and how we impact and influence the human collective.


As we move into a new era, we have the opportunity to contemplate what values are most important to us personally, as a particular culture, and for the collective of humanity. We are here to usher in the ‘golden age’, the New Earth (which many refer to as ‘Heaven on Earth’).


Is it time for us to move beyond the political values that have been placed on each country and transition back to embracing traditional cultural and spiritual values? How can we do this? What can each of us do to contribute? What values does humanity need to embrace and live by to create a New Earth, a place where we can all live in peace and harmony, where everyone has everything they need, and where Mother Earth and all of Creation are cared for? 

  

Discussion Questions


Discussion questions for this topic are included in the overview. Below please find a summary of these questions.


  1. What are your thoughts about the official and traditional cultural values as outlined for your area? If your area was not included above, how would you describe the values of your community/region/country?

  2. How do you think the various official standards developed? Are there other official standards that represent your area? Do you believe these accurately represent the people in your region, and do they resonate with you?

  3. In looking at the values and constitutions outlined by governments worldwide, there are many similarities. Why do you think this is? Could they be more connected to a global influence rather than the true traditional cultural values?

  4. Official cultural values have been decided and imposed on us, even though they don’t necessarily reflect the values of those who are in control. What are the real values of the politicians in your region, and how does this align with or differ from your own values and the values of ‘we the people’?

  5. Is it time for us to move beyond the political values that have been placed on each country and transition back to embracing traditional cultural and spiritual values? How can we do this? What can each of us do to contribute?

  6. What values does humanity need to embrace and live by to create a New Earth, a place where we can all live in peace and harmony, where everyone has everything they need, and where Mother Earth and all of Creation are cared for?

  

Footnotes


  1. “The Constitution”, South African Government, date accessed 25 January 2024, https://www.gov.za/constitution.

  2. “African Traditional Religion”, South African History Online, date accessed 10 October 2023, https://www.sahistory.org.za/article/african-traditional-religion.

  3. “African Traditional Religion”, South African History Online, date accessed 10 October 2023, https://www.sahistory.org.za/article/african-traditional-religion.

  4. “African Cultural Values and Inter-communal Relations: The Case with Nigeria”, Developing Country Studies, ISSN 2224-607X (Paper) ISSN 2225-0565 (Online), Vol.4, No.24, 2014, https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/234682106.pdf.

  5. Ma, Y., Zhao, Y., Liao, M. (2015). “The Values Demonstrated in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China” In: Ladikas, M., Chaturvedi, S., Zhao, Y., Stemerding, D. (eds) Science and Technology Governance and Ethics. Springer, Cham, 01 January 2015, https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-14693-5_6.

  6. “Deep-dive into ten values treasured by the Chinese”, Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, date accessed 3 October 2023, https://singaporeccc.org.sg/deep-dive-into-ten-values-treasured-by-the-chinese/.

  7. “Korea Information – Government Constitution”, Korean Cultural Center NY, Date accessed 25 January 2024, https://www.koreanculture.org/korea-information-government

  8. Chris Drew, “The 5 British Values – Explained for Students”, HelpfulProfessor.com, 6 September 2023, https://helpfulprofessor.com/british-values/#google_vignette. 

  9. “Charter of Values of Citizenship And Integration”, Ministero Dell Interno, Scientific Council, Ministry of Interior, Official Translation, Rome, 23 April 2007, http://www.libertaciviliimmigrazione.dlci.interno.gov.it/sites/default/files/allegati/0919_charter_of_values_of_citizenship_and_integration_inglese.pdf.

  10. Keith S. Rosenn, “Brazil 1988 (rev. 2017)”, Constitute, Date accessed 25 January 2024, https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Brazil_2017.

  11. “Mexico 1917 (rev. 2015)”, Constitute, date accessed 13 February 2024, https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Mexico_2015.

  12. “Brazilian Culture”, Cultural Atlas, date accessed 16 October 2023, https://culturalatlas.sbs.com.au/brazilian-culture/brazilian-culture-core-concepts.

  13. Katia A. Figueroa Rodríguez, et al, “Culturales”, SciELO, Culturales vol.8 no.16 Mexicali jul./dic. 2012, https://www.scielo.org.mx/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1870-11912012000200001.

  14. “Australian Values”, Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, date accessed 20 September 2023, https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/about-us/our-portfolios/social-cohesion/australian-values.

  15. Nina Evason, “Australian Culture Core Concepts”, Cultural Atlas, 2016, https://culturalatlas.sbs.com.au/australian-culture/australian-culture-core-concepts

  16. “Egalitarianisma”, Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia, date accessed 8 February 2024, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egalitarianism.

  17. “What are the most important American values?”, USAHello, date accessed 20 September 2023, https://usahello.org/life-in-usa/culture/american-values/.

  18. “Directness”, Merriam-Webster Dictionary, date accessed 30 October 2023, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/directness.

  19. “Consumerism”, Merriam-Webster Dictionary, date accessed 30 October 2023, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/consumerism.


8 vues0 commentaire

Commenti


bottom of page