Once again, I’m just thinking aloud…
We take it for granted that the culture we grow up in sets our most basic beliefs patterns of thought. Not irrevocably, of course. But that our culture gives us our world view seems to me to be a given. Is anyone arguing?
I’ve been wondering if there is a deeper and more fundamental shaper of our world view. Does anyone know if any studies have been made of the influence of the geography of where we live on human thinking? Is it possible that to some extent our thoughts are constrained by our homeland? Not our culture, but the land itself?
Don’t worry. I’m not disappearing up some New Age “Earth-Mother-is-my-guide-She-speaks-to-me-when-I-hug-this-tree” blind alley. But as I prepare to cross the Atlantic I’ve been thinking about some of those trans-Atlantic differences we all know about. One of the things I really enjoy about the USA is the “can-do” attitude which is so differentto the basic British mindset, especially in South Wales. (According to the newspapers, Michael Douglas calls Catherine Zeta Jones “Dame Doom” because of her basic pessimism. I believe it because it rings so true of her native Swansea. You can take the girl from Swansea, but you can’t take Swansea out of the girl!)
So I’m wondering aloud… Does the land in which we grow up literally change our minds? Does the optimism of the US come from it’s wide-open empty spaces, so suggestive of new possibilities and opportunities? Are the British more pessimistic because our place is smaller and more crowded?
Or am I talking through the wrong orifice?