Is it culture or an uncivilized society?

Culture is the way of life of a particular society or group of people, including patterns of thought, beliefs, behavior, customs, traditions, rituals, dress, and language, as well as art, music, and literature.  (Webster’s New World Encyclopedia, 1992)
Civilization on the other hand is a state of human society that is very developed and organized. It could also mean a society, its culture and its way of life during a particular period of time in a particular part of the world.  A civilized society is one that is well organized socially with a very developed culture and way of life.

Masai ladies of East Africa

Looking at these definitions of culture and civilization, one may be tempted to conclude that a particular culture by a group of people is either barbaric or brutish considering the practices of such people.  The Masai people of East Africa have a unique culture that I admire so much: their way of dressing and an aspect of piercing their bodies.  The Jaguar people of the Amazon region in Peru, Chile and Brazil pierce their bodies to commemorate events and also as an indication of the rites of passage.  One may conclude they are an uncivilized society, but that is their culture and it is unique in their eyes.  Humans as we are, we tend to look down on cultures that are not practiced in our own environment.  Take a quick look at the shorts below and pass your own judgement.

Her nose has been pierced and bone placed in it.
Their mouths have been pierced and ornaments placed in them.
This is an initiation rites being performed

If you don't appreciate them, don't condemn them.  That is their culture.


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