AMMONNEWS - By Marwan Alshammari - In their book “Culture matters: how values shape human progress” Lawrence Harrison and Samuel Huntington talk about culture and its effect on human progress.
They compare Ghana and South Korea, two countries that had the same economic indicators in the 1960s, but by the time their book was written, South Korea had become one of the greatest economic powers in the world whereas Ghana was still suffering.
The authors built upon another piece of research that was conducted by Harrison and published in a book titled “Underdevelopment is a state of mind: the Latin American case”, in which the author argued that the culture in Latin American countries was a major obstacle to making true progress.
In part, culture becomes a hurdle to true progress when a substantial deviation from its spirit occurs due to poor or biased interpretations of its core values, norms and beliefs.
Such deviation also occurs due to narrow mindedness and inability to be flexible.
Why do such limitations represent a problematic issue that hinders true progress at all levels?
The answer needs too much elaboration, but it is important to shed light on few implications of narrow mindedness and the inability to adopt a culture of acceptance.
One major trait of those who believe and embrace a culture of acceptance is the ability to accept criticism, positively respond to it, understand the opponents’ reasoning and acknowledge their comments and concerns as long as they are rational and have solid grounds, the ability to interact, communicate and hold productive discussions with others whose views may be different.
This is a constructive approach that helps both understand problems and handle them.
It is well known that the more diverse the insights the greater the likelihood of getting closer to a more comprehensive and accurate solution to a problem.
Another problem created by the culture of rejection is the lack of self-development and self-evaluation.
This applies to both individuals and entities, such as governments.
This makes it difficult for a collective and collaborative process of political practices, which, again, leads to slow economic and social progress.
A third issue that often surfaces in societies lacking the culture of acceptance is the denial of existing societal problems; such denial makes it difficult for those who have progressive views to influence any kind of reform that aims at addressing those societal issues. Moreover, the deeply rooted culture of rejection plays a significant role in the wellbeing of women and is the reason for the poor acknowledgment of their right to equal treatment in all respects.
Finally, lack of a culture of acceptance may negatively influence the mindset of the youth, feeding their narrow perspectives and encouraging deviant tendencies, which could ultimately lead to desperation and unintended consequences, such as extremism.
I believe that in order for us to build a healthier society, with stronger social and economic foundations, we need to step back and revise our capacity to accept other values, and then make the necessary corrections.
We can only move forward if we get all those who belongs to our nation on board.
We need to accept each other’s perspectives, share common values and goals and make constructive criticism that contributes to the overall welfare of our society.
Citizens, entities, NGOs and civil society organisations need to be transparent about things in order to address them properly.
One important implication of the culture of acceptance is the reinforcement of mutual respect, harmony and understanding, as well as collective responsibility, which are major pillars in building and strengthening the unity of a nation.
The economic progress of any society depends largely on how informed, educated, cooperative and productive the society is.
It is a function of the various inputs and insights that are generated through mutual cooperation between the different components of any society.
Many research findings, literature and scientific inquiries put emphasise the essential building blocks of a well-endowed society, social and economic system, among which constructive criticism.
By accepting criticism, revising views and putting the greater good of the society ahead of one’s own agendas and goals, one establishes a healthy practice that would ultimately lead to better systems, embedded goodness, greater strengths and immunity to extreme thought.
I hope that in the years to come, our education system will focus more on promoting the culture of acceptance, in accordance with our original values and culture, and not only the culture that fits our values, agendas and purposes.