Hall, Edward T. Beyond Culture. New York: Doubleday, 1976.
“Once people began evolving their extensions, particularly language, tools, and institutions, they got caught in the web of ‘extension transference,’ and as a consequence, they err in judgment and become alienated from and incapable of controlling the monsters they have created.” (4)
“Many people’s sense of worth is directly related to the number of situations in which they are in control, which means that many people have problems with their self image because they are clearly in control of so little.” (6)
“Western man has created chaos by denying that part of his self that integrates while enshrining the parts that fragment experience.” (9)
“It is highly insane, or at least indicative of our incapacity to order priorities with any common sense, to spend thousands of dollars for helicopters, gasoline, and salaries for the sole purpose of bureaucratic neatness.” (11) lone dog on the island story. “why don’t they just leave it alone?”
“We in the West are alienated from ourselves and from Nature. We labor under a number of delusions, one of which is that life makes sense; ie, that we are sane. We persist in this view despite massive evidence to the contrary. We live fragmented, compartmentalized lives in which contradictions are carefully sealed off from each other. We have been taught to think linearly instead of comprehensively, and we do this because of the way in which deep cultural undercurrents structure life in subtle but highly consistent ways.” (11-12)
“Myths, philosophical systems, and science represent different types of models of what the social scientists call cognitive systems. The purpose of the model is to enable the user to do a better job in handling the enormous complexity of life.” (13)
“All theoretical models are incomplete. By definition, they are abstractions and therefore leave things out.” (14)
Monochronic Time – linear, one thing at a time, schedules, segmentation, private, individual.
Polychronic Time – several things at once, involvement of people, communal, a (sacred) point, rather than a ribbon or road. (17)
“Monochronic time is arbitrary and imposed, it is learned..it is not inherent in man’s own rhythms and creative drives.” (20)
“To schedule his activities for him would be considered a tyrannical violation of his individuality.” (23) the middle eastern/latin american.
“Extension Transference (ET): the common intellectual maneuver in which the extension is confused with or takes the place of the process extended…worshipping idols represents one of the earliest examples of the ET factor.” (28-29) J Joyce, Finnegan’s Wake.
Extensions are fundamentally fragmenting, analytical. They undermine original/natural functions. Walking – wheels, beasts of burden – atrophy to human body. “They are reductionist in their capability.” (36-37)
“Extensions dissociate man from his acts,” (modern warfare). “The danger is that real life problems are dismissed while philosophical and theoretical systems are treated as real.” (38-39)
High Context Culture – information widely shared, communal (polychronic)
Low Context Culture - individualized, alienated (monochronic)
“Two things get in the way of understanding (cross cultural communication): the linearity of language and the deep biases and built in blinders that every culture provides.” (69)
“Spoken language is an abstraction of an event, past, present, or future, and written language is an abstraction of spoken language.” (87)
“Siblings who have grown up together communicate more economically (HC) than two lawyers in a courtroom (LC), a mathematician programming a computer, two politicians drafting legislature, two administers writing a regulation, or a child trying to explain to his mother why he got in a fight.” (91)
“Good art is always high context; bad art, low context. This is one reason why good art persists and art that releases its message all at once does not.” (92)
“Play, another Basic Archetypal Situation, is now pursued like work and turns into a multi-billion dollar industry in the US, with the result that few white middle class Americans know how to really play. The effect that this has had on our daily lives and our politics is incalculable – we take ourselves far too seriously.” (135)
- BAS; birth, death, hierarchical behaviors (dominance, submission), agnostic or aggressive behavior, play, territorial behavior, teaching and learning, various types of communicative behavior.
“Our time system has done much to alienate Western man from himself. A reason for people getting sick is to escape the shackles of time and to return and re-experience their own rhythms…without schedules, industrial society would be unknown.” (136)
“the convergence of psychiatry (particularly psychoanalysis) and anthropology – the two fields overlap in the study of how man’s situational needs are structured, handled, sublimated, repressed, suppressed, experienced, and exploited. An improper balance leads to neurosis; denial of man’s nature, to psychosis.” (139)
“Construction projects such as dams were scheduled to be completed in a given length of time. The Hopi could not understand why they were always being needled to hurry things up and why it was that a dam should be built in any set length of time…a house could have taken twenty years to build.” (145)
“Polychronic cultures often place the completion of a job in a special category much below the importance of being nice, courteous, considerate, kind, and sociable to others...to be too obsessional about achieving a work goal at the expense of getting along is considered aggressive, pushy, and disruptive.” (150)
“Culture is very closely related to if not synonymous with what has been defined as ‘mind.’” (166)
Mind as “internalized culture.” Artificial separation of psychology and anthropology. (192)
“Separation of education from life…is new in the history of primates…In schools disciple is substituted for the internal drive to learn…to be part of culture. Through a profound misunderstanding of primate biology the schools reduce the most intelligent primate to a bored and alienated creature.” (204) Washburn, S.L. Primate Field Studies and Social Science, in Cultural Illness and Health, AAA, 1973. On the importance of play.
“Sitting regimented at desks according to predetermined, fixed schedules is no way to treat a primate capable of running up to a hundred miles in one day.” (205)
“Sitting still in confined places is one of the worst punishments that can be inflicted on the human species. Yet this is what we require of students in school.” (211)
“I am not convinced at all that there is anything sacred in logic.” (213)
“The irrational constitutes a significant portion of normal behavior. It is time for western man to accusation himself to that fact.” (216)
“Today in the US we are still trying to throw off the yoke of the Protestant Ethic.” (220)
- The Protestant work ethic (or the Puritan work ethic) is a concept in theology, sociology, economics and history which emphasizes that hard work and frugality are a result of a person's salvation in the Protestant faith, particularly in Calvinism, in contrast to the focus upon religious attendance, confession, and ceremonial sacrament in the Catholic tradition. (wiki)
“The Pueblo view of the group as the basic unit is difficult if not impossible for the average European to comprehend…For the Pueblo Indian, the idea of competition between men is therefore repugnant and foreign, with the result that everything in the white man’s schools is subversive and threatens the very core of his existence. It is like having different parts of the psyche in competition.” (231)