Question One: Journal Entry
There are many factors that may affect communication between two individuals. Chief among these factors are their cultural origins. The cultural origins of individuals generate different communication blocks, thus making the sharing of information the more difficult. A succinct element of culture that factors in the quality of communication between individuals of different communities includes socials time, which according to Levine is the heartbeat of culture. Communication blocks as a result of social time are a factor in cultural assimilation, thus making it an important element in learning a new culture.
According to Levine, different cultures have different perspectives with regards to the adherence of time. Some cultures such as that of the Northern Americas are conscious about time. This results in a fast passed lifestyle. On the other hand, communities such as those in Brazil are more laid back with regards to keeping time. However, they often compensate for the lost time by taking more time to cover their duties. Despite the different perspectives on the effectiveness of a given cultures perspective on time, Levine found that they all have different advantages and disadvantages. A fast paced social time results in effective economic standards, while a slow paced social time results in an increase in well being. Therefore, there is no single correct social time. There is only a difference in perspective with regards to social time.
Question Two: Levines Main Point
Levines main point is that different cultures have different conceptions with regards to time. However, despite these differences, there is no way of telling which conception is right and which is wrong as each conception has its own advantages and disadvantages.
A visit to East Africa provided me with the chance to experience a difference in time sense. While western culture requires one to be timely, East Africans do not have the sense of urgency when it comes to keeping time. For instance, meeting with my tour guide of the Mara national park took longer than expected. I had to wait for the tour guide longer than I had planned. This was despite the fact that the rendezvous time on the tour company website stated 9am. This experience affected my attitude in that I came to accept that time would not be kept as I expected.
Visiting east Africa required that I travel through Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. This was on my way to the Mara national park. The pace of life at the city was fast, everyone was in a hurry to get somewhere. However, the locals close to the national park were not in a hurry as most of their activities revolved around tending to their livestock. This is in contrast to the pace of life in New York or nay other major city around the world. The slow pace of the locals near the Mara created opportunities for interaction and communication. This is in contrast to the impersonal nature of the pace of life in western countries.
Some of the experiences contradict the information shared by Levine. For instance, some of the people with whom I interacted with in Nairobi were fast paced and kept their time strictly. Therefore, I came to a conclusion that social time is not purely a result of culture. Social time is also affected by many other variables. These include ones occupation, goals, and attitude. Therefore, Levine did not factor in that there are individuals within the given societies who do not comply with the accepted social time as depicted.
Reading this article has helped me to understand my culture as well as influenced my perception of people from different cultural backgrounds. For instance, I understand that the Northern American culture is mainly fast paced due to the need for one to keep time as well as numerous obligations placed on a given single individual. However, other cultures may place priority on interaction and communication. While these cultures may not have a bigger economic development in comparison to the Americas, they have a better level of well being. This leads me to perceive other cultures as being different, but very okay.
Levine constantly shifts from making a point to stating personal experiences. He achieves this by making transitions from one style to another. He does this by gradually introducing the new style with words that glide from the previous information. This allows the reader to seamlessly understand the different information shared in the different styles. Some of the words that give cue to moving towards a personal style include the use of first persona. The use of objective words indicates the introduction of a factual section of the article. The effect of these changes to the reader is that they can understand the information shared at a deeper level.
Barnas discussion of nonverbal communication points out Levines argument that different cultures have different times. For instance, Levine states that the students in Brazil believe that being late is a sign of affluence. It is assumed that everybody in Brazil knows this, and thus being late for functions is normal. If one does not know of this non verbal cue, then there may be miscommunication between two people of different cultures. One may think that Brazilians are lazy. However, the truth is that they often compensate for time lost. While it may take time, one would have to learn these new cultures before they can morph with the new societies.
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