Thinking across Cultures

By Donald M. Topping; Doris C. Crowell et al. | Go to book overview

22
Thinking Across Cultures-- Humans and Bees

Preston F. Ginsburg Sperry Corporation Blue Bell, PA

If our purpose is predictive understanding, it is always dangerous to assume that a characteristic found in a nonhuman creature has its parallel in humans; but we continually search for these apparent correlations for at least two good reasons: we, as creatures, do not want to feel alone; and we learn by extension of our old knowledge. This is our easiest path to new understanding. If we can find a fellow creature, another member of the living envelope on Earth, and in that creature find something in its personal or collective struggle with the environment that seems to reverberate with meaning for us, then we may not presume to have found a direct human correlate; but we have found an idea which can inform the creative speculation and theory building in which we as scientists, humanists--seekers all, must involve ourselves in our struggle towards understanding.

Since Frazer's work at the turn of the century we have grown comfortable with the idea that we could look at the customs and behavior of other societies, consider their underlying dynamics, and compare those factors to our own societies. There is even the possibility of finding a deep underlying relatedness between the drives, motivations, and concepts of this other society and our own. These liberating thoughts were with me as I began my exploration.


WORKING IN CORPORATIONS

In my 20 years of working for and with large corporations I have seen processes and their outcomes that have disturbed and, in some cases, injured me. A few years ago I speculated on the vast array of confusions, mismatches and failures that have been endemic in the internal collective activities of our

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