TheUnited States is profoundly a multicultural society. However,elements of the Western Civilization are conspicuous in her culture.Culture is not static, but rather, it changes as society continues torevolutionize. People from one generation to another adopt diversecultural practices with time. It can be stated that different periodsof Western Civilization have over the years influenced the Americanculture. This paper seeks to examine elements of American culturethat emanated from various stages of Western Civilization.
The Ancient World (Near East and Egypt) has attributes that wereintegrated into the American culture. A key cultural element from theAncient world is the practice of circumcision. The ancient Egyptianspracticed male circumcision as a religious rite. Besides, it aimed atenhancing hygiene. The activity was later adopted by the Phoeniciansand the Israelites. Scholars disclose that evidence of circumcisionis documented in Egyptian pyramids and texts. For instance, Kmtesh(1), reveals that there is a display of an Egyptian stela at theChicago Oriental Institute that demonstrates the practice ofcircumcision. Also, the Bible in the book of Genesis records thebeginning of circumcision when Abraham is told to circumcise his malesons. A recent study by the U.S center of Disease and Prevention(CDC) revealed that more male American are circumcised each year.Although the practice is often used as a preventative measure forillness, nevertheless, it has become part of the American culture. It can therefore, be argued that circumcision is a cultural elementthat originated from the Ancient World (Near East and Egypt)(Tontonoz, 1). Consequently, the ancient world influenced Americanculture.
Adominant cultural practice in the Classical World (Greece and Rome)was thedevelopment of the arts. The Greek and Romans valuedcreativity. As a result, classical art was expressed through drama,artistic works, poems, and sculptures. The creative platforms wereused to propagate the views, values, beliefs and attitudes of thepeople. Greece was the first to build theaters where drama wasperformed. People would gather in stadiums and auditoriums to listento the performance of various artists. Today, performance arts andother forms of skills are prominent in the society. Over the years,the significance of the arts has been depicted by thе continuedgrowth of various industries in the field. For instance, the MovieIndustry is a substantial element of the popular culture in America.Ibbi (94) argues that Hollywood has flourished in selling theAmerican culture to the American people and rest of the world. Acase in point is where people have become consumerists after watchingmovies that promote the eating of low carbs. Movies are also used toexpress various cultural values and beliefs of the people. It isevident that the emergence of the arts during the ancient Greece andRoman societies greatly influenced modern culture.
TheMiddle Ages was a period was increased superstition. Newman (1),reveals that the people had extreme superstitious beliefs to theextent that education did not censure their perspectives. Forinstance, when an individual become sick, they did not seektreatment, but rather, some would sit and wait for God to heal them.The act of bloodletting was common where doctors would drain bloodfrom a sick person. This was a way of getting toxins out of the body.The problem associated with the draining blood out of the ailingindividual is that instead of feeling healthy, the patientwouldget weaker and later die. It can be argued that superstition insociety today is an aspect that was derived from the middle ages.People are still very superstitious concerning various issues. Forexample, the concept of Karma is a common perspective among severalpeople. Many individuals believe that our deeds can influence thefuture either in a positive or a negative manner. As a result, ifone does evil against another, they are bound to experience thedamaging impacts of their deeds in the future. A big question thatarises is whether this principle always works. Do all evil peoplesuffer the harmful effects of their actions in future? It can bestated that this is a subject of research. However, it supports theanalogy that the Middle Ages did have an influence on modern cultureby instigating superstition.
A particular characteristic of the American culture that sprung fromRenaissance/Reformation period is the aspect of secularism. Today,secularism is the most famous moral movement in the American culture(Caiazza 8). The perspective propagates a worldview away fromconformity to religious thinking and approach to life. During theRenaissance period, it was increasingly common to find that theattitude of individuals towards religion and the church was one ofcontempt and indifference. People turned to rationality in order tojustify their way of life and believes (Heller 66). In thecontemporary culture, it is evident that the influence of religion onAmerican culture has declined due to the increased adoption ofsecularism. It can be argued that secularism is an attribute thatwas derived from the Renaissance period. Secularism has penetratedevery aspect of civil life, increasingly relegating religion torestricted sections of society. It has washed away the rudiments ofreligion that were instituted since the foundation of the UnitedStates. For instance, today there is a minimal expression of the TenCommandments in the courthouse and learning organizations. Enforcingreligious regulations in institutions is now deemed as the impositionof religious beliefs on the public. In addition, protests haveemerged concerning the emphasis on traditional holidays such asThanksgiving and Christmas. Those in opposition of such events arguethat there is a need to neutralize the public events in order toeradicate the increased public attention given to such occasions. Thesecularization of the American Society has expanded to the pointwhere it is an inevitable part of the culture (Caiazza 9).
Theabove discussion has presented elements of American culture thatemanated from different stages of the Western Civilization. The paperidentifies the development of the arts as a vital cultural componentthat arose from the Classical World (Greece and Rome). The paperhighlights that increased advancements and focus on the arts was anaspect that was instigated by the Classical World by citing theexample of the growth of the movie industry. During the AncientWorld (Near East and Egypt), circumcision was a crucial culturalpractice that is practiced even today. The paper also discloses thatThe Middle Ages was characterized by increased superstition an aspectthat still exists in the modern culture. Lastly, theRenaissance/Reformation period influenced the emergence secularism.In conclusion, this paper argues that Western Civilization laid thefoundation of the American culture.
Caiazza,John. TheDisunity of American Culture: The Disunity of American Culture.New York: Springer. 2013. Print.
Heller,Ágnes.Renaissance Man.London: Routledge. 2015. Print
Ibbi,Andrew. Hollywood, the American Image and the Global Film Industry. CinemaJournal. 3.1 (2013): p 94-95. 2013. Print.
Kmtesh,Nip. Circumcisionin Ancient Egypt. London: Routledge. 2014. Print.
NewmanSimon. Culture in the Middle Ages. TheFiner Times.2016. Print.
Tontonoz,Matthew. WhyIs Circumcision So Popular in America?London: New Direction. 2015. Print .