…or what I like to call the ”small culture syndrome”.
What is ”a” culture though? I see it as the sum of human experience, of people that share language, geographical position and traditions. Sometimes borders divide cultures; sometimes it transcends all barriers. Culture is a product of history and has a great capacity for stimulating human minds – which is why we value it so much. We have our own painters, our writers, our chefs, our actors, our sculptors and historians and philosophers and musicians, our athletes as well as our intangibles such as language and customs and humor. All of these bits and pieces (and many others) stem from the society we live in and contribute to (be it more or less). Why do some cultures fare better than others in exercising influence worldwide?
First, there is size; but size of a culture has nothing to do with its quality or value – it is merely an indicator of influence. Size is based on the population, economic development and military power. Culture is shared so the more adherents, the bigger the impact. Then, we can talk about geography as well: climate, landforms but also urbanism. The places where the locals have urbanized quickly had faster access to better technology and exerted a bigger influence in the world (a lot of the times through military conquest and then culture was rather imposed).
What’s “small culture syndrome” then? It’s the “disorder” affecting a lot of artists, writers and other creative or technical people worldwide because there isn’t a market for what they are selling or a fertile environment to develop their trade in their own home cultures. The reasons are plenty…usually, it’s somewhere between “fanbase” (population) size and economic development, all topped with the usage of a minority language. What solution do such people have? Well, to go and find a culture that will offer them an amplifier for their voice to be heard. And many do find such a place, adapt, fit in and bring value to and through a culture different than their own. What happens to their native cultures though? Time will tell; time and history, as we have plenty of examples of extinct cultures and civilizations.
Is there fault in parting with your native culture in search of a bigger/stronger/faster culture if there’s a chance that your voice will be better heard?