Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What’s a Cultural Iceberg?

The culture or cultures you grow up in affect your deepest attitudes and beliefs, giving you your sense of what’s good or right, what feels comfortable, what behavior is acceptable, and conversely what’s not. What other people see may be only those things “on the surface”—for example, the way you talk or act, what you eat and how you dress.

That’s why culture is often represented as an iceberg. Ten percent is the “surface culture” that shows above the water line and 90%, known as “deep culture, ” is hidden below.

The hidden part of the iceberg influences everything you do and yet you may not even realize it. Ask yourself, for example, “Does it feel right when things come in threes or fours?

The Rule of 3
If you are from western cultures, the threes probably have it:
- You get three wishes
- The third time’s the charm
- Favourite characters in fairy tales and songs come in threes—the three little pigs, the three blind mice
- Races start with “Get ready. Get set. Go!” Slogans are more memorable to westerners when they’re in threes: “Snap! Crackle! Pop!”

Comfort based on certain numbers is just one of countless ways that cultural heritage influences your approach to daily life. Look into the “deep culture” part of the cultural iceberg above and find some attitudes and beliefs you hold.

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