Silence in Cultures
The use of silence varies from one culture to another. Western traditional cultures perception of and use of silence are different from eastern cultures of the world. Countries which adapted much of the Greek culture and learned from Aristotle, Socrates, and Plato high value socializing and believe talking as an important activity. Some countires that view the perception of silence in this way are the United States, Germany, and France. However, Eastern cultures such as Japan and India find silence very appealing.
Silence is not only developed in Asian cultures, but it is also found in any Scandinavian cultures and American Indian cultures. The Japanese culture observed that silence can serve a variety of purposes. It can be seen as a way of talking among family members and it is linked with credibility (p. 226). lt is also a way for them to avoid conflict and embarassment, with proverbs such as “It is the duck that squawks that gets shot”. In India, silence is a very big part of their culture.
Their religion, Hinduism, is based on silence, “The Hindu believes that ‘self-realization, salvation, truth, wisdom, peace, and bliss are all achieved in a state f meditation and introspection when the individual is communicating with himself or herself in silence” (p. 226). Scandinavian cultures also oppose the dominant western cultures. They think silence conveys interest and consideration. Finally, the native Americans believe silence is a sign of a remarkable person. Silence is also the number one rule when interacting with another during important events such as meetings with strangers and periods of mourning.
These four cultures show that their people have a lot of respect, proper etiquette, maturity, good manners, and great character towards others. The Chinese philospher, Confucious left some remarkable provers which stuck in many of todays silent Asian cultures. “Believe not others’ talesJOthers will lead thee far astray;” “Silence is a friend who will never betray’ (p. 226). For the Indian Culture, their religion provided proberbs and are follwed by people of the Hindu religion. Lastly, Chief Joseph, a famous Indian leader, has been quoted by his people and his sayings have been passed down from generation to generation. It does not require many words to speak the truth” (p. 227). These important fgures left important ayings before their death and their proverbs stayed and still “teach” people in their cultures today. Men and women are from two different cultures, and because of this, communication can sometimes be a problem. As children, boys tend to develop patterns of aggressiveness. A study done by Nicolopoulou, Scales, and Weintraub examine the symbolic imagination of four year old boys and girls. The stories that were told by girl were significantly different than the ones that the boys told.
Girls tend to think of stories that include order and social realism. They use rational plots ith stable characters, continuous plot lines, and social and familial relationships. Everday domestic life is emphasized along with romantic and fairy tale images of kings and queens. The boys however contain more conflict and disorder. Their stories typically don’t include a stable plot, clearly defined characters, and relationships. While girls tend to find resolution to conflicts before the story ends, boys tend to not defiance and destruction to drive their plots.
Another study, conducted by Otnes, Kim, and Kim showed the communication differences in letters to Santa Claus. The results of the sudy confirms the xpectations among the gender patterns. Girls usually wrote longer letters, they made more specific references to Christmas, they were more polite, used more inderect requests, and included more expressions of affetion. The boys however made more direct requests. There was no difference between the two on the amount of toys requested. This pattern has subtly moved into the way men and women communicate.
According to Bonvillian, “because women and men are socialized to express themselves in different ways in accordance with cultural norms that teach and reinforce differentiated gender roles” (p. 186). Men have typically communicated to exert control, preserve independence, and enhance status. They typically minimize feelings. Doing this enables men to use problem solving, data collection, and solution suggestions. They emphasize content rather than feelings. Wood states that men also, “expresses superiority and maintains control” (p. 188).
Men redirect conversations fro their own benefit and interrupt as a controlling or challenging device. This allow the man to drive the conversation, asserting the control. Forceful and direct language is common among men. Wood also goes on to state that, “men end to speak in abstact terms that are general and removed from personal experiences” (p. 188). This allows the men to keep their emotions out of the conversation. Lastly, the conversation of men is not very responsive. Sympathy, understanding, and self disclosure are rarely expressed because these responses are condescending and make one vulnerable.
Understanding these communications allows one to understand more about one another. From the early beginnings, it was prevalent that girls, typically more passive with a more rational thought process normally grows into one who communicates ith feelings and understanding. Boys growing up show aggressiveness that eventually evolved into a lack of expression of feelings and a demand for superiority. There are many games in different cultures that help teach its citizens lessons about life. One game is called “the dozens”.
The dozens is a pedagogic device that instructs citizens in communication strategies for the resolution in routine interactions. This means that the dozens is a way for citizens to learn how to overcome conflict in daily life. The community in which the game is played is typically n a black urban area that has a mixture of lower, middel, and upper-middle class people. Boys, girls, men and women all play the game. The object of the game is simple, one person must best another, using words. Insults toward ones family is common.
The study shows that a lot of the Jokes are geared toward the opponents mother. One might ask , “Why would a game that involves telling insults at one another be beneficial? ” Two things, it helps understand ones self, and it prepares the individual to maintain composure under pressure situations. When understanding ones self, you have to realize your problem. For instance when someone focuses a lot of the insults towards the oponents mother, it could be a sign that they have an issue with their own mother that they are trying to overcome. the mother.
This causes the man to lose his identity. His ability to exert his power is lost because he most answer to a woman. They feel inferior. So when the game begins, the exert their anger towards woman by vilifying the opponents mothers. This allows them to come to their senses as to why they feel the way they do. The dozens also enables one to maintain composure in pressure situations. When laying, you have to stay “cool” in order to not lose. If you don’t keep your “cool”, the audience and your opponent will sense that they are getting under your skin, and the insults come harder.
The audience will also declare you a loser. You will also begin to come up with insults that have no effect to your opponent which will work to your disadvantage. By playing the game, you learn to separate yourself from your feelings. You are able to maintain the “cool” that you must display in situations important in life. If you are unable to do this, you can lose control and you wont be able to succeed n what you are trying to do. For example, if you are the best at keeping your “cool”, you can fly through Job interviews, because you will remain calm, and collected.
You know what youre going to say, and you deliver with eloquence. However, if you do not know how to keep your “cool”, you get nervous, saying things you didn’t mean to say, giving wrong information, and making rash decisions due to a lack of composure. This game is direct reflection of the MTV show mio Mamma”. It starts off with a group of people, men and women, go at eachother with insults about themselves, or their family. The audience then chooses the participants who will go toe to toe in a battle. Insults are then exchanged between the two individuals.
This time Judged on delivery, content, creativity, and crowd reaction. Once the battle is over, the Judges get together and declare a winner. Although the dozens doesn’t have celebrity judges, it is what the show is based off of. There are many ways to act while communicating with others. Some people are polite and agree with whatever you say, knowing whole heartidly that they disagree, yet they still nod their heads, and there are people who blatently disagree, without any care of offending anyone. Two cultures that display these really well are the Arabs, and the Sabra.
Arabs approach interpersonal relations using musayara, in interpersonal style tha involves an aray of politeness strategies that emphasize mutuality, cooperation, respect, concern, indirectness, subtlety, effusiveness, allusion, and metaphor. In contrast, the Israelis often use an interpersonal approach that relies on dugri, which, involves direct, explicit, forceful, assertive, unembellished speech these contrasting styles may interfere with negotiations and lead to dissatisfaction with both the process and the utcomes of negotiations.
The problem that the is presented in Arab-sabra encounters is the fact that the styles are so contradictory. While the Arab musayara exert politeness and mutuality, the Sabra dugri display assertive and often contrasting ideas. To the Arabs, “straight or dugri talk in the style of the quintessential Sabra is not an expression of trust, rather is often experienced as offensive, even abusive. This causes friction due to the disagreement that they will face. The Sabra will rub off the wrong way by being so direct that it will be offensive to the Arabs.