“Culture as a Cybernetic Device in a Society”

Culture, according to Clifford Geertz (1973), is semiotic, meaning it must be interpreted to extract its meaning which is relevant in the understanding of man and society.
As observed by Hilario Davide, “culture can be a resource for alternative paths to development. In terms of impact, cultural recovery has meant no less than the collective healing of communities that have been ravaged, corrupted and marginalized by modernity.
It is not easy to trace the development of culture. Every generation changes and expands culture through the processes of innovation and diffusion. Innovation is the introduction of a new or novel idea or object to a culture. Diffusion refers to the process by which a cultural item is spread from group to group or society to society. (Schaeffer & Lamm, 1997)
Home is where we all start to be encultured and where we form or inherit values. The Filipino family is attentive to everything that promotes or hinders its own well-being. Family closeness and security would refer to natural dependence and mutual sharing among family members, financially and emotionally. Due to this value, Filipinos have an extended family structure where married sons and daughters remain under the roof of their parents for protection.
Parents should realize that true values cannot just be imposed on or dictated to their children. They should give their children the opportunity to make choices. It is of vital importance that children be given enough leeway to be able to know themselves better and understand others. By doing so, the parents are teaching their children self-reliance. Parents must establish attainable and realistic values for their children.
The Filipino family experiences fellow-feeling or being involved in family matters. What happens to one happens to all. This is an affirmation of close-knit family ties. This close-knit phenomenon is a binding element as threads of society are rewoven by giving attention on what the individual experiences in his/her capacity as a member of the community.
The family is seen as a defense against a hostile world and a unit where one can turn to in case he/she has a serious problem (Panopio & Rolda, 2000)
Social acceptance refers to the way of life of Filipinos as recognized or acknowledged by their fellowmen and social groups. Filipinos are highly sensitive that they do not tolerate confrontation. Instead, they resort to ways just to be accepted such as pakikisama, euphemism and pakikiramdam.
Pakikisama is yielding to the will of the majority or to the leader which could result both to positive and negative behavior. It refers to one’s effort to get along with everybody. Pakikisama is defined by Fr. Frank Lynch, SJ as “the ability to get along with others in such a way as to avoid signs of conflict” (Andres, 1989) Camaraderie among Filipinos makes them flexible and easy to be with.
Euphemism is stating an unpleasant truth, opinion or request as pleasantly as possible. In order not to offend others, direct, harsh and brutal words must be avoided.
Pakikiramdam is a value affecting the team’s spirit. This value should be used positively to ensure rational problem-solving, decision-making and policy formation.
There exists no negative Filipino values. Values are desirable and are, therefore, always positive. Education is considered as the driving force in the synchronization and the development of desirable Filipino values. Because of the richness of culture in the ideal of Filipino values, a Filipino needs only to challenge himself/herself to interpret positively and live dedicatedly our cherished values.

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