Schlagwort-Archive: Context

The brand stamp – the ideal metaphor for cultural imprint

Common sense is influenced, when you daily take in fictional images of the media that are internalized by the mind like all other experiences – the self-healing powers of righteousness, the role models that achieve everything and the prescribed Hollywood happy ending. At the same time, you are shaped by the practical actions and behaviors, which take place around you. All this burns in permanently. In the end, you will not get rid of it. This makes the brand stamp an ideal metaphor for cultural imprint.

The cultural stamp becomes apparent in the things of everyday life: the context, the actions, the typical skills, the shared beliefs, the established roles and the perceived affiliation.

  • Affiliation
    The sense of belonging is the most sustainable pattern that anchors one in a particular culture. In the own team one is identified by the same shirt and the shared attitudes. This excludes all others who do not belong – especially those who emphasize their own identity. The attachment with one’s own group creates security and is maintained, for example, by a common symbol or shared rituals. This most primitive coinage is the hardest to change, if at all.
  • Role
    Actually, there are similar roles in all cultures – family, religious, social, economic or technical roles. Fearful little minds overlook these similarities and pour oil into the fire of the differences again and again. Although roles provide a good basis for a better understanding of the various cultural imprints. How is the Imam different from the priest or rabbi? How is the little sister (小妹妹) different from the Arab sister (شقيقة) and the sister in Mexico? The roles provide a good starting point for change.
  • Conviction
    The beliefs are the mental guiding principles fir everybody. They include values, mission, vision, strengths / weaknesses / opportunities / threads, goals and anything else that influences opinion- or decision-making. However, we never share all beliefs with other people. The individual properties lead to ever new, unique character traits. It is not enough to limit yourself to the stereotypes of the roles. The actual variety creates a large number of options, of which only a small number become reality. That’s why you have to watch closely and look for creative solutions. Change becomes possible, when the convictions start to shake and new mental conclusions emerge.
  • Capabilities
    While not all capabilities (I.e. skills, knowledge, experience) result from a formal education, these talents are always the basis for the desired outcomes. Skills include elementary sensory-motor (e.g., movements), cognitive (e.g., arithmetic, reading), cognitive-motor (e.g., writing, music-making), social (e.g., dealing with others), and perceptual (e.g., pattern recognition, kinesthetic differences). The knowledge consists of a variety of technical and general knowledge, the experience and the insights that are acquired in the course of practice. The key to new skills is persistent learning. Change can be prepared relatively easily with appropriate training.
  • Actions
    To better understand the cultural imprint, the actions are observed. This can be done by direct or hidden observation. The actions carried out can be interpreted based on the activities (e.g. planning, discussion, production or reporting), the linguistic expression (e.g. the expression of beliefs, desires, intentions, states), and the choice of words (e.g. key, stigma, abstract words and synonyms) as well as the style (e.g. gesture, facial expression, posture, volume, and tone). Through clever task distribution and a conscious corporate wording as well as a special code of conduct changes can be introduced easier
  • Context
    The context describes the environment in which one acts. This includes people (e.g., professionals, character heads), places (e.g., cities, architectural styles, and infrastructure) and things (e.g., vehicles, IT, gadgets). To which extent actions, abilities and values ​​are appropriate, can be determined through the context. Sometimes you have to adjust it, so that the desired changes take effect.

Bottom line: The cultural imprint has a great influence on the activities that are carried out. Roles bundle the individuals into a manageable number of groups, who feel connected to each other. The beliefs mainly include the values that have an effect in the role. Capabilities are the prerequisite for the actions that take place in a particular context. The responsible person for the change needs to take all these aspects into account to actually make a difference. Just as a branding can only be removed with a lot of effort, it is difficult to get rid of its original coinage. This makes the brand stamp to an ideal metaphor for cultural imprint.

Seeing is believing

For good reason have religions the tendency of demonizing pictures. The faith is threatened by information. Figurative representations have the strength to convince people that what they see is the reality. It began with symbols and drawings, which were painted on the wall in the darkest corners of caves, probably by torchlight. It continued with depictions of gods and holy stories, which could only be seen at magic locations. Then the painting entered the private households. Since each picture was an original piece of art, only a few people could afford this luxury. With the printer press and the photography all people could benefit from this new look at the world. Eventually picture and tone became easily receivable for many people with the film and television. In parallel the conviction evolved that what you see actually is – “Seeing is believing”.

The picture is however determined by conditions, which prevent that you really get a look at the reality. The three following aspects play thereby a large role.

  • Image composition
    A photo squeezes the motives from its multisensual world into a two-dimensional frame. Outside of the image margin, on the right or the left, above or below, is no component of the picture and thus invisible. The use of a wide-angle lens tears relationships apart. The telephoto compresses distributed objects and produces the impression of proximity. The film type (black-and-white or color) produces additional tendencies. The appropriate orange hue creates the impression of the seventies. In the end the picture maker does not show the reality, but he produces it with its formal possibilities.
  • Context
    The environment, where the picture is presented, creates additional meaning. The image of a driving tank in an article about the invasion in a country or in a report on liberating a region elicits a corresponding impression. Although it is the same photo, it is evaluated differently. Similar motives are likewise differently interpreted. A group of people, who walk a dirt road with suit-cases and children by the hand, can awaken different feelings – depending on whether they are refugees from Syria or the former GDR.
  • Censorship
    At the end the control bodies of a country or a newspaper determine, what you van see – or not. As soon as a decision is required for a publication, the monitoring begins. The criteria does not matter thereby, since the decision gets removed from the potential viewers – for reasons of picture quality (e.g. awkward perspective or blurring), missing importance of the photo, assumed lack of interest, or to hide undesired facts, like critical points of view, messages, or truths. The censorship is already accepted practice. It starts with the rules for good journalism and certainly does not end with embedded journalists, who report on a military action – nobody is irritated by the influence of the military on the publication.

The changeability of pictures is not an achievement of today’s Photoshop age. Pictures were always falsified. The illustration shows for example, how Stalin dealt with comrades, who were fallen in disgrace. He simply let them retouch from the pictures. The media suggests neutrality, if it speaks of the filter bubble and populist reporting. If you look and listen closer, then you hear the tendentious tone in each newscast. So-called neutral fact checking does not help any more.

Bottom line: What you see in a photo is always the result of filtering one or several aspects. This happens consciously or unconsciously, with the best hidden agenda or bad-willingly, supporting or obstructing the viewer. In any case filters are impacting, which falsify the reality. In changing a well-known saying: One cannot not falsify pictures. An indicator, which can only be checked with difficulty, is the origin of pictures – if you can find it. Thus, there is no reason to believe something, as soon as you see it.