Measuring superior and inferior cultures

[This is an original thought-piece by the author]


There are no superior and inferior people (that is, until social convention determines otherwise once again).

Cultures however, do differ in their superiority. You know it when you see it.

Chances are most people would claim that their culture is the superior one, otherwise they would've adopted a better one. Besides, most people live within their bubble.

More self-aware people may concede of superior cultures outside of theirs (either by observing the outcome or studying the practices) but are unable to adopt it without the support of their immediate circle, or it's outside of their capability to take the lead.

By extension, superiority implies a trajectory of advancement. Advancement of culture suggest a sense of greater good the collective strive for.

However, cultures ultimately differs in their sense of greater good, otherwise known as value system. If value systems are different, how do we establish that cultures are differently superior, given that they are not measured on the same metric?

We cannot measure a culture based on economic success, that would be deciding that industrialism is the best value system.

We also cannot measure a culture based on headcount, by that logic cockroaches would have superior genes to human.

What about happiness? It'd be logical to conclude that the culture that produces the happiest people is the best one.

Not so easy. First, that would imply that the pursuit of happiness is the be all and end all. It is not.

Secondly, you won't have problem finding the happiest hedonists around junkies high on drugs. I don't think you'll argue for their superiority.

I'm tempted to look at culture as a meme-pool as compared to a gene-pool. It's not an airtight argument, but the longest surviving gene pool tends to be superior and likely to survive longer. So too does a meme-pool.

The better a culture is the more people survive long enough to carry on that culture. The longer a culture sticks around, the more people it acquires. The larger the headcount, the longer it's likely to stick around.

But that couldn't sit well with me. Longevity sound like a roundabout way of using headcount as the measure of culture. It forgoes dynamism and innovation, favors virus-style breeding that needs no quality of superiority.

As such I have to conclude that superiority of a culture can only be measured when defined against a "greater good".

We can perhaps make the assessment that "open culture is superior for adoption and innovation", and we can't just say "open culture is superior". The former may or may not be right, but it's a valid hypothesis. The latter isn't even a valid.

What follows "culture for ..." instructs us on how to move forward.