Different factors prevent people from being objective that lets
societies adapt to cultures different from their own. A couple of such factors
include overgeneralizing and ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism does not lead to
intercultural communication because each person of a different culture has a
definition of what is “normal” and prevents them from looking at other cultures
unbiasedly. Another barrier that prevents people from being objective is
overgeneralization. Societies tend to overgeneralize because they see only a
part of a picture and apply their perception to the whole. A way we can avoid
overgeneralizing is to acknowledge individuality and value each person’s
uniqueness rather than simplifying his or her character within stereotypes. One
major reason objectivity is difficult for some people are the existing
differences. In my culture for example, we have a norm called “taarof”. This is
when someone proposes invitations or offers any act of kindness and the only
way for the other person to show respect is to decline. Salespersons use taarof
very often and refuse to accept payment from their customers at least once to
show their respect.
The brain divides in two parts: the conscious and the unconscious.
For example, when we say three times three equals nine, it is the consciousness
that uses mathematics, reasoning, and logic to find the answer. On the
contrary, part of our mind is unconsciously responsible for all of our beliefs,
emotions, and habits. Cultures and pre-defined social behaviors lie within the
unconscious and therefore lead to our lack of objectivity. Since
childhood, social habits form a person’s cultural identity. These habits and
beliefs store themselves in our unaware minds and settle deep within
personalities, gradually taking away the ability to look from the conscious, or
in other words, objective perspective. The reason behind objectivity is to
learn accepting the differences in the world between co-cultures and dominant
cultures, or in Dr. Cargile’s words, we can learn to “Add without Contradiction”.
When people face situations unprocessed in their unconscious because they
identify the difference and try to align what they learned with what they
previously knew. In other words, they compare the cultures they are learning
with their own cultural standards. Finally, people reach a state of judgment.
Based on the psychological Theory of Personality, our conscious helps us
analyze and understand the reasons behind each society’s cultural differences
with one another.
Many years ago, I translated texts for psychology students and I
confronted articles about consciousness and unconsciousness that are crucial
factors in shaping our judgment in contrast with intercultural communication. To
name a few, Dr. Sigmund Freud and Dr. Carl Jung had many studies on the effects
of the human brain on personalities and social lives.
First to be able to identify ways
people learn cultures, one needs to know the definition of culture. Culture is a collection of justified approaches towards
resolving the needs of a community. For example, speaking in Japanese is an
approach to resolve the need for communicating and expressing one’s thoughts, ideas,
and feelings for a certain group of people. On the other hand, speaking in
Arabic is a different approach taken by a different group of people, yet to
resolve the same need. Culture is a complex treasury that consists of social
behaviors, moralities, norms, customs, beliefs, and arts. Cultures transfer to
next generations by education and society is highly influenced by dominant