Wednesday, May 17, 2017

post 10

So for the second half of this unit we analyzed American culture and how living in the United States might affect someone. We focused mainly on what Americans valued culturally. We as a society tend to be much more focused on the individual and much less on the well being of others. We are also much more materialistic than other cultures and many Americans base their happiness on their wealth and their ability to acquire consumer goods. This idea was stressed heavily in the short film "I Am" where a wealthy director realizes that happiness doesn't come from wealth, but from the connections we make with the world and other people.

Another interesting source that we looked at was Schirmer's Bemused in America. Schirmer brought up many interesting things about American culture. He found jogging amusing since it was a pointless form of exercise that involved little interaction with other people. In Germany, they value team sports more than individual forms of exercise because it helps with peoples social skills and helps people keep a good social life. Even I noticed the difference between American culture and European culture when I lived in Switzerland. The Swiss valued nature much more than Americans. In America we take excess consumption of food and energy for granted whereas in Switzerland almost everything is "green". Electricity was barely used in public schools, most buildings did not use  air conditioning since the Swiss government deemed them detrimental to their air quality, and all heating was done with geothermal heat, requiring almost no energy from outside sources. The Swiss also valued social interaction more than Americans. People tended to stay off their phones on long bus and train rides and instead would have long conversations with strangers. Cycling was almost always done in large groups and it was very rare to see individuals biking for exercise alone on the streets. The Swiss preferred team sports over individual sports and they also were much more respectful to their elders than Americans are to theirs.

Overall if I were to change something about the American culture it would be to focus less on individual achievement. I believe American society needs to work harder to help each other out in times of need. Neighbors are often strangers to each other and I find that extremely weird since they will be living right next to each other for an extended period of time but only know each others names. We need to be more open to strangers and embrace social interaction instead of avoiding it.

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