Filling Our Cultural Backpack… (an excerpt from Truth and Tolerance)

“The truth is that while everyone is culturally conditioned, most everyone goes through a complex process of examining and questioning his cultural inheritance called “growing up”. When we are very little, our parents and social institutions fill our cultural backpacks with all kinds of stuff: some items carefully wrapped up with love and little bows, others just thrown in, and some things getting into our backpacks despite the efforts of our parents and institutions. Eventually we sit down, open the backpack, and sift through our cultural baggage, comparing it to our experiences and the longings of our hearts.  The process starts with adolescence and never really ends, but we are all familiar with the arc from childhood (uncritical acceptance) to teenage rebellion (faux-critical rejection) followed by real-life experience (the “My God! My parents were right!” stage, marked by a growing critical acceptance) to full adulthood and the responsibility to pass on lessons to the next generation.
Critical acceptance does not mean reverting to the cultural programming of childhood, but reaching a stage where you understand why your parents stuck all that stuff into your backpack, discerning what corresponds to your life experience, and maybe adding or subtracting some things”

~ Excerpt from the post “Culture Warriors” at

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