Ruth Benedict

"The essential idea in Patterns of Culture is, according to the foreword by Margaret Mead, "her view of human cultures as 'personality writ large.'" As Benedict wrote in that book, "A culture, like an individual, is a more or less consistent pattern of thought and action" (46). Each culture, she held, chooses from "the great arc of human potentialities" only a few characteristics which become the leading personality traits of the persons living in that culture. These traits comprise an interdependent constellation of aesthetics and values in each culture which together add up to a unique gestalt.

Ruth Fulton Benedict
Ruth Benedict.jpg
Benedict in 1937
Born Ruth Fulton
June 5, 1887
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died September 17, 1948 (aged 61)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Education Vassar College (BA)
New School of Social Research
Columbia University (PhD)
Occupation Anthropologist
Spouse(s) Stanley Rossiter Benedict
Parent(s) Frederick Fulton and Beatrice Fulton

Cultural relativism is widely accepted in modern anthropology. Cultural relativists believe that all cultures are worthy in their own right and are of equal value. Diversity of cultures, even those with conflicting moral beliefs, is not to be considered in terms of right and wrong or good and bad.

In essense we can clearly see another culture if we are hindered by our own " Pre-Concieved Notions ", again why most people can't Draw well, it is because they can't look out at any aspect of the World, free of "Pre-Concieved Notions".- my theory and whole concept of this Site

So in Essense- to teach Art "true Art", at the same time we must be teaching ways of transcending Ego, transcending Culture, over-coming Pre-Concieved Notions.

     One can't create anything New, if One can't clearly think, and see.



I been re-reading/ studying "Patterns of Culture" wanted to type out some excerpts I found/find very enlightening

-Foundational- in understanding where we stand still as a Whole, some 84 years since Patterns of Culture was published!

                      Excerpt from "Patterns of Culture" page 7;
  " Primitive man never looked out over the world and saw "mankind" as a group and felt his common cause with his species. From the beginning he was a provincial who raised the barriers high. Whether it was a question of choosing a wife or of taking a head, the first and important distinction was between his own group and those beyond the pale. His group, and all its ways of thinking, was unique. " - Ruth Benedict

             page 7 to 9;

                    " So Modern man, differentiating into Chosen People and dangerous aliens,groups within his own civilization genetically and culturally related to one another as any tribes in the Australian bush are among themselves, has the justification of a vast historical continuity behind his attitude. The Pygmies have made the same claims. We are not likely to clear ourselves easily of so fundamental a human trait, but we can at least learn to recognize its history and its hydra manifestations.
  One of these manifestations, and one which is often spoken of as primary and motivated rather by religious emotions than by this provincialism, is the attitude that has universally held in Western civilizations so long as religion remained a living issue among them. The distinction between any closed group and outside peoples, becomes in terms of religion that between the true believers and the heathen. Between thes the two categories for thousands of years there were no common meeting-points. No ideas or Institutions that held in the one were valid in the other. Rather all institutions were seen in opposing terms according as they belonged to one or the other of the vary often slightly differentiated religions: on the one side it was a question of Divine Truth and the true believer, of revelation and of God; on the other it was a matter of mortal error, of fables, of the damned and of devils.
  " There could be no question of equating the attitudes of the opposing groups and hence no question of understanding  from objectively  studied data the nature of this important human trait, religion."
  " We feel a justified superiority when we read a description such as this of the standard religious attitude. At least we have thrown off that particular absurdity, and we have accepted the of comparative religions. But considering the scope a similar attitude has hadin our civilization in form of race prejudices, for example, we are justified in a little scepticism as to whether our sophistication in the matter of religion is due to the fact that we have outgrown naive childishness, or simply to the fact that religion is no longer the area of life in which the important modern battles are staged.
  " In the really live issues of our civilization we seem to be far from having gained the detachment that we have so largely achieved in the field of religion."

Page 9to10;
  " There is another circumstance that has made the serious study of custom a late and often a half-heartedly pursued discipline, and it is a difficulty harder to surmount than of those of which we have just spoken.
  " Custom did not challenge the attention of social theorists because it was the very stuff of their own thinking (pre-concieved-me). It was the lens without which they could not see at all. Precisely in proporation as it was fundamental, it had its existence outside the field of conscious attention.
  " There is nothing mystical about this blindness".
When a student has assembled the vast data for a study of international credits, or of the process of learning, or of narcissism as a factor in psycho-neuoses, it is through and in this body of data that the economist or psychologist or the psychiatrist operates."


Democracy Requires Minority Rights

Democracy therefore requires minority rights equally as it does majority rule.

The British political philosopher John Stuart Mill took this principle further. In his essay On Liberty he wrote, “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community against his will is to prevent harm to others.” Mill's “no harm principle” aims to prevent government from becoming a vehicle for the “tyranny of the majority,” which he viewed as not just a political but also a social tyranny that stifled minority voices and imposed regimentation of thought and values. Mill's views became the basis for much of liberal political philosophy, whether it is economic liberalism or social liberalism.