Cultural and Traditional Values
Comprehending the world, a person decides what is important for them in life and what is not that important. The result is a general assessment of the world in which certain phenomena have a definite meaning and significance to the person. The significance of values in the life of both the individual and society as a whole is extremely high. Values are important in every culture because the attitude of a person to nature, society, and the closest environment determines them. According to Jelena Petković, “The importance of values of tradition s and challenges of modernization are unavoidable in social-anthropological and cultural analysis and understanding of urban and rural reality” (26). The value system promotes human perception of the surrounding reality as well as indicates its factual relation to objects and phenomena. The most significant values are cultural, traditional and religious. It is evident that, without real values, life is just the struggle for survival. In fact, values enrich life, prioritize, and set allowed limits and norms of behavior. Nowadays, humanity is impoverished, regardless of one’s wealth. The problem is that the world is full of commercialism, greed and pettiness. Hereby, this means the world lost cultural, moral and traditional values. On the one hand, people understand that it is impossible to live if one does not take into account moral principles, but on the other hand, what morality can there be when a person has nothing to eat? While the technological progress, revolutions, and protests are conducted by people, the depreciation of human values is a result of the passivity and inactivity of people. The fact that people lose their values is the result of the loss of their spiritual level, namely the loss of the spiritual world. Taking into account the globalization processes in the world, values are not important in modern society, which indicates some kind of degradation of humanity.
As the starting point of any culture is the recognition of higher values, their loss in modern culture has led to nihilism and spiritual crisis. It is important to know the particular values of the cultures to understand the political, economic, social and personal behavior of any group of people, which is passed from one generation to the next. With regard to cultural values, these are the heritage of a particular social or ethnic group. Carter states that among American cultural values, there are equality, individuality, freedom, mobility, safety, competition, and efficiency, among others (31). Cultural values influence all human activities such as religion, philosophy, moral standards, laws, politics, economy, society, history, literature and art. However, nowadays, cultural values significantly depreciate. Modern communication tools allow online broadcast news from around the world to provide information about the whole scope of life from economics and politics to science and culture as well as to shape people’s cultural values.
The globalization of economic, social, and cultural space caused the destruction of all boundaries between different cultures. A society that provided the culture and life needs for young people. Apparently, electronic media fill a large part of their free time and serve as an important tool for the spiritual world, cultural values, and attitudes for today’s youth. For example, it is a trend for many young people to buy well-advertised goods. Thus, the involvement in the world of prestigious and beautiful things becomes the aim of existence and the meaning of life. The reason is that young people are obsessed with the cult of fashion and consumption. The mass media imposes behaviors, stereotypes, templates on society. With the help of television, the pages of newspapers and magazines, and the Internet publication day after day modern society consistently, systematically and purposefully instills a culture of consumption into human minds. Any sphere of life such as culture, medicine, education, sports or any other sphere of the life can easily be evaluated in monetary terms. On the contrary, devaluation of cultural values encourages selfishness, disbelief, anger, greed, pride and other vices. As a result, there is a change in people’s thinking. In the pursuit of material wealth, people often make rash and irrational decisions. Thus, the scope of human interests is determined by the content of their pocket and satisfaction of basic needs. It seems that people are always running somewhere, concerned with the problems of everyday life, and there is nothing human in this absurd marathon. The basis of the degradation of national and social life of people is the loss of faith as well as cultural and moral values. Today, there is a tendency to further dehumanization and demoralization of cultural values.
Other important values in modern societies are traditional values. Nowadays, the role of traditional values in society has been considerably changed. It is worth noting that these changes are much more negative than positive. First nowadays, society does not need traditional values at all. The reason is that modern people live in a different environment where there is no room for cultivation of traditional values. In fact, traditions and customs have been forgotten with the beginning of the processes of globalization. Also, according to Baker, the declining role of traditional values is closely interrelated with the rhythm of today’s life (45). For many people, it is very hard to find some spare time for entertainment, not to mention the cultivation of traditions. It is evident that the generation that is now becoming adults puts life on pause since they study too long, do not create a family and do not want to become middle class. Moreover, the financial crisis has exacerbated this trend. In developed countries, social evolution occurs gradually, through which old ideals of the middle class such as a stable income, property, and family are no longer attractive to young people. For example, according to the Pew Research Center, in recent years, over 40% of children in the US were born in incomplete or officially not registered families. Many American couples deliberately do not want to marry and may divorce by mutual consent. Also, increased openness and social mobility of the society has led to the gradual erosion of the traditional marriage system. As a result, such evolution in society will lead to the gradual dissolution of the simple model of consumption. Finally, there is some expectation that the future generation will cultivate traditional values. Nevertheless, unfortunately, such values are not important in modern society.
Equally important for the society are religious values. The religious system of values, beliefs and norms primarily unites members of society, insuring its integrity and unity. Religious values can not only stabilize the society but also be part of the social process that leads to changes in society. Pew Research Center states that religious beliefs also shape many kinds of values that citizens hold and there has been a little change in the number of Americans holding strong religious beliefs. Apparently, this significant influence of religious values on social life is related to the fact that they can be the trigger for underlying social conflicts. A striking example of this kind of a value-based conflict is the story of hatred between Judaism and Christianity, which are religions that are closely linked to the related origin. Moreover, similar are the conflicts between the Catholics and Protestants, Orthodox Christians, and Muslims. In modern society, religious hatred is not reduced to a purely voluntarist and emotional moments respectively. In fact, it lies at the level of values. Religious intolerance is associated with the inability to understand and accept different systems of values. There are also diverse religious conflicts based on values. They are caused by changes in the spiritual life of society as a result of the formation of secular culture that comes into conflict with traditional religious values and views on the world. Thus, religious values in modern society can act as a factor of social stability, while also causing social changes and conflicts. It is evident that community development is moving towards differentiation. Religious values now show people less direct impact on the state, economics, education, and justice. The reason is in the fact that the individual who receives an opportunity to consciously choose religious faith is exempt from coercion by church; thus, religious orientation becomes more significant. In modern society, people neglect religious values so that they have mostly lost their importance.
Over the past decade all over the world, the issue of values has become very important. Among the entire hierarchy of values, there are those which are common or global and inherent for the majority of people. These values not only determine the motivation of individual behavior but also create a person’s outlook. There are a number of mechanisms by which the values transmit from generation to generation. The prominent places are given to the family, church, art, literature and culture. Among these values, the most powerful are the cultural, traditional and religious values because they have an influence on people’s behavior. However, nowadays, due to the processes of globalization, these values lose their importance, thereby leading to serious problems.