Idea's space

This blog is dedicaded to share ideas coming randomly from my experiences

Posts Tagged ‘culture

Culture is good for morale

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img_2572Few weeks ago, I was listening to a podcast on the web talking about culture. According to the chronicler, referring to the book “Sauver la culture” (Save the culture) from Patrick Béziers, culture is an efficient antidepressant. How to reach this conclusion?

Culture is in the books, in the museums, theater, photography, in the painting, in languages and many other things. All these forms of culture express emotions, ideas, are sources of inspiration and an excellent way to stimulate serendipity. Just to remind you, serendipity is the fact to discover or invent something unexpectedly as a result of a fortuitous combination of circumstances, and often as part of a search of another subject.  In other words, it’s finding something other than what you’re looking for.

Culture can make us discover new horizons, and discover new center of interest or hide talents. For instance, you take your children to see a photo exhibition, and after, they would like to try to take photos too. It will be probably an opportunity to discover a new passion, to visit places to make a small photo trip and to learn things about these places. A kind of virtuous circle feeding your culture and knowledge.

Another example, as member of a non-profit association, you are asked to be the community manager and to take care about the blog or the website of the association. You discover the pleasure to write, to relate events or news from the association, or to develop a topic related to the object of the association. With the time, you develop the talents of chronicler or writer, you learn about social media world. On other words, you develop transversal skills.

img_2573Based on these two examples, we can say that culture allows you to find your potential of creativity. In the example of the chronicler for the non-profit association, you start first by writing editorials or articles, then you improve your writing style, you try to develop original ideas you will communicate about. Based on that acquired experience, you can think about opportunities to develop your passion to write. If you build a good reputation thanks to the quality of your writing style, why not to develop a commercial activity as writer or content provider?  What is important and we will see why, is to define a goal that will motivate you to improve your skills, to push your limit ever higher, in order to catch new possibilities.

Why is it important to push your limit higher? Because it is a good way to reinvent yourself, to be more creative and to imagine to start a new activity, a new life. You are not afraid of the future, and you are enough self-confident to move to unknown territories, to new experiences. Looking back, you will find that your life did not go as you thought, and that the fear of the future is a bit irrational. Only self-confidence will help you to face the future, and your capabilities will be a good way to empower your self-confidence.  The famous quote, “The best way to predict the future is to create it”, credited to both Abraham Lincoln and Peter Drucker, make sense.  The self-confidence has a positive impact on your moral. That is why culture that is part of knowledge, is the basic element to build future projects, to develop happiness. That is why culture is good for moral.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

January 9, 2019 at 19:42

Why invest in culture is good for the society and the economy?

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cultureOne of my friends shared on Facebook a video named « La parabole des tuileries », demonstrating the positive impact of culture on economy and society. The video shows a man seating in the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris in a sunny day. The person is thirsty and goes to a pub to drink something. If you order a few glasses, the first glass gives you a deep pleasure, the second one gives you a bit less pleasure than the first one, the third one no pleasure at all as you don’t feel thirsty anymore. This demonstrates a fundamental rule of the economy, named the law of diminishing marginal utility. This law is valid for most of consumption goods. When you buy a new smartphone or a new car, the pleasure is short-lived and the desire to acquire a bigger car, a more sophisticated smartphone is for some of us already in our head. The marketers name also that phenomenon the post-purchase consumer regret.  This phenomenon encourages people to buy always more and to impact positively the economy. But are people happier, and is such way of consumption based on the frustration sustainable? There is an exception to this: the culture. When, for instance, you listen to the music, you want to listen more. When you like books, you want to buy more books. The pleasure remains and is growing too. This is certainly because teachers at schools have taught you the taste for music, for book, for culture. This video demonstrates that when governments spend money in culture, they can expect a return on that investment. Culture is a necessity, an asset for the society and for the economy, for many reasons. Let’s have a look on this.

–          Basic knowledge: Culture, like education, is a fundamental basic that contribute to people development. Reading books for instance, contributes to our literary culture, but more basically to growth our vocabulary. Vocabulary is the basic of communication. Today, some statistics reveal that a range of adults shows lack of vocabulary and don’t understand what they are reading. Such lacks cause problems in the professional life, when some people don’t understand some given instructions and run things on a wrong way.

– Openness: culture is something contributing to openness, to develop our reasoning capacities. We can learn different reasoning and compare them with others. It nurtures our critical mind and judgment capacities. The knowledge of different cultures, from foreign countries is an opportunity to see the wealth of our differences. In the era of internet and social media, openness and language knowledge is clearly an asset to catch opportunities and develop global projects.

– Creativity: Culture is a reference that feed our creativity. The philosophy, for instance, includes concepts about human being principles and things, about their role in the universe. The knowledge of these concepts gives us the possibility to transpose them in another context. Luc De Brabandere, a Belgian consultant in creativity, was a mathematical engineer. His passion for creativity made that he made studies in philosophy in order to understand our environment and to apply philosophical and mathematical concepts in the creativity domain.

– Actor of the society: Culture is something you can acquire but is also something you can create. Culture is a never ending story, and by subscribing to cultural activities, you become the actor of your own life, and enjoying the fact that you can be creative, you can achieve personal goal. To consume is an act, but consumer is not an actor.

– Serenity: Culture, like education is the main thing we need to conquer our freedom. By acquiring our knowledge thru education and culture, we expand our possibilities, but we empower also our self-confidence, and reach serenity. By feeling good with yourself, you are good with other people, and build communities contributing to a better world.

– Economy:  Culture creates local economic activity. As described in the video, when people enjoy the museum, they contribute to create activity and jobs within the museum. The museum contracts goods and services to sustain the cultural activities, but contributes also to develop the tourism activity, what is benefit for hotels and restaurants around, for public transports, etc. Here is what we call the multiplier effect of the investment in culture.

Culture is something immaterial, but is probably the best investment a society can do. Culture is an investment that gains value, for a community as for each member of the community. Culture is the ferment of a sustainable and progressive society, where people can conquer their freedom.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

May 30, 2014 at 06:35

The perception of changes, an open window to new opportunities

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The Center for sustainable energy and technologies in Ningbo - China

Yesterday, I was listening on the radio that the last car was produced in the Opel assembly plant of Antwerpen in Belgium. This is the consequence of the General Motors bankruptcy and the related restructuring process. The Flemish Regional government tried to make lobbying to find another partner to buy the business in order to save a local production, but also to save jobs. On another way, I was reading an article published in the Spanish newspaper El Pais and translated in the Courrier International, that the Silicon Valley, symbol of new technologies and entrepreneurship, was moving his activity in the green technologies. I was wondering why it seems that some countries seem to be always in advance in term of innovation. There are probably many factors to explain such differences.

It is obvious that we are living in a fast moving environment. These fast changes imply to have a long-term view. Changes are sometimes slow but ongoing processes, but we only perceive then at a certain moment. If for instance, you plant a tree in your garden, and you are looking to it everyday, you will not perceive that the tree is growing a bit every day. It is after few weeks or months that you will suddenly notice the tree grew significantly. What is interesting to know is if it is the change which is not always easily perceptible, or is it our mind which don’t want to change of vision easily. Are our mind progressive or conservative? It depends of each of us and we need probably more or less time to integrate new ideas, new paradigms. Does this break of perception, linked to a culture difference, explain that some countries are more innovative than other? This is an interesting question underlining different important aspects, in which governments could have a key role to play.

As said, a sustainable economical development needs a long-term view. Some well performing industries will not be anymore in few years, because the economical environment is changing. It is important to predict what will be the long-term changes, based on what we can observe today, in order to develop appropriate policies to ensure these developments. Let us take the example of Belgium. This country was known during many years as a country where car manufacturers were investing. The car manufacturing industry was bringing a lot of jobs, and these factories were appreciated for the productivity and qualification of people. It was of course a good source of revenues for the State, and as far as everything is fine, we do not look further to what could be happen. But since many years, like in most of western countries, the employment in such factories was decreasing, and companies began to invest in countries where the manpower was cheaper than in western countries. The trend seemed to be obvious. These industries were not expanding their activities in our countries. Our economy is changing and needs transformation. Some elements are necessary to implement such transformation. But are our governments supporting enough the economy renewal implementation? Let us take another example, when by the past, the Belgian Government allowed huge intervention to save the metalwork industry, but like the automotive industry, the size of the production plants and the jobs did not stop to decrease. Was it a good initiative to sustain a declining industry sector in our country? It was probably a good initiative on a short-term basis in order to save jobs, but not on a long-term basis. It would probably be better to allocate budgets to develop new fields of economy and to give incentives for research and development programs.

Since few years now, a lot of local initiatives are taken in order to sustain the development of new economical projects. The question is to know if the efforts and incentive done by the governments to stimulate the innovation and the creation of new economical development fields are sufficient, and if such measures are not coming too late? Is this the result of a too conservative view of our world? Ilya Prigogine, Nobel price in chemical sciences, was used to say that we have to build the present time, based on the experience of the past and by anticipation of the future. If we have a look to the past, we can note that everything has changed, and that there is no reason why this process should stop. This is a reason why we have to be aware about each change, each trend we can see. We have to consider these changes as an open window to new opportunities and challenges. It is a question of mind, of vision about our world, to be able to change of paradigm and to think out of the box. It is obvious that by mentioning this, we underline the importance of education and the qualification level of people. Knowledge and capabilities are the raw material of innovation and development. A strong and sustainable economy can only be build with a performing education system, and by encouraging people to acquire a culture based on adaptability, and considering changes as a opened window to new opportunities and challenges.



Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

December 16, 2010 at 22:04

Languages, a worldwide passport

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Languages, the key of worldwide connections

Recently, I was kindly invited by a friend to attend the prize-giving ceremony of the chinese school where her son is learning chinese since six years. I was impressed by the fact he was one of the students who had the best result of his class, but also by the fact he is learning a difficult language which has not a lot of common things with western languages. He will start soon his seven year, and it is obvious that we will gain a precious passport for the future.

This make me think to a few things. We says that language is the cradle of the thought, trough language, we can communicate each other. But the language is much more than a communication tool. Some languages are more spread than others. Let us talk about english, which is spoken around the world, and is considered as the international language in the business, the diplomacy..If we consider languages only as a communication tool, and as you can speak english, why should we learn other languages ?

Language is a communication tool we use to share ideas, feelings, stories. The language is a part of our identity. I would say that language is also the cradle of the culture. In linguistics, there are two components, the signified and the signifiant. The signifiant is the acoustical image of a word, the signified is the concept, the mental representation of something. It means that we will translate a word or a sentence from a language to another, but the perception will not be the same. Some concepts are not literally translatable from a language to another. This is an evidence that the language is the reflect of a culture. It is obvious that if two people are speaking each other in a language which is not their respective native language, their will first not express exactly the same things as if they do it in their native language, and they will not perceive the message as they would perceive it in their native language.

By mentioning that point, I could see a social dimension of the language. By learning a language, you are showing a motivation and an interest for the language and the culture of the person you want to communicate with, in his native language. I often experienced that when you learn some words from the language of your interlocutor, he appreciates it and considers this as a mark of respect and of interest for his culture. And by learning the subtleties of the language, you empower the relations with your interlocutors, but you will perceive much more better the feelings, the signified of the language, and by the way, you will expand your own culture and knowledge.

In a world where we talk about globalization in many areas, it remains important to be able to speak “locally”. Each language, each culture is a personal enrichment. The concept of culture makes cense if other cultures are existing.

Languages are not only communication tools, but also an extraordinary open door to the future and to the world. Let’s think globally and speak locally !

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

June 26, 2010 at 17:06