By Mark Antony Rossi
I’ve often wondered if all the major decisions I made in my life were heavily influenced by my cultural background. No doubt economic status, social environment and religion play a role but I’m primarily interested in the cultural construct. Is there truly an Italian perception of reality?
I know for sure my parents derived a great deal of their principles and morality from their Italian heritage. I can easily trace most of what I practice regarding manhood, friendship and patriotism to my father. Strangely enough my mother’s thoughts on those subjects were very similar but contained a sharper twist. Do we make major life decisions solely based on parentally-derived cultural education and ethics? Are we merely carbon copies of our parent’s physical union? Or do we take from what we learned yesterday and mix it with today’s reality to form an answer maybe not available a few decades ago? I am keenly aware in many parts of the world culture often shapes identity and maybe a person’s destiny.
Those realities are direct result of cultural impact or what we may call the cultural construct in where a person lives and operates under certain guidelines and rituals. In comparison to individual choice absent in any cultural consideration, there are those who believe the cultural construct as an inhibiting factor regarding personal freedom and even national priority. But imagine, a blather-filled society built by intellectual elites fixated on performance and viciously discarding paint, poetry and every possibility of diverse expression. In the modern world the presence of culture can be the personal choice of an individual respectful of family and mindful of the future. We should not be fooled or forced to decide between scientist or shaman based on new age insecurities about how cultural practice can sometimes clash with today’s technology.
The roots of our past are more than elements to celebrate, they are windows into another avenue of creation. A distinct difference from a prefabricated social media collective which believes technology as a culture onto itself. And Science the father of every freethinker willing to shout down ideas older than a decade. I still wonder if my Italian upbringing has changed the course of my life. I don’t subscribe to the notion of an Italian business decision or an Italian scientific fact simply because exaggerations of cultural pride are precisely why so many young modern types reject the experience in the first place. But I accept what my parents tried to impart remains in my heart and soul and as I write these words I can hear my father’s quips transferred to my two sons via my unique interpretation.
Whether it be Italian, Italian-American or another cultural hybrid it has enhanced my personality and character in depths not achievable by academic or agnostic lifestyles. It remains my firm belief that time tested culture like clean water is vital to a healthy human existence. And culture has the power to restore global civility if we are careful to inform instead of impose its values on a divided world landscape. Like a classic Italian romantic tale, it starts with a poem and ends with the marriage of two families.
About the Author: Mark Antony Rossi is a poet, playwright and author of the bioethics volume “Dark Tech” now available from Amazon. His most recent plays have been produced in Liverpool and New York. http://markantonyrossi.jigsy.com