The Forest And The Trees Essay

1153 Words Oct 2nd, 2015 5 Pages
In Allan Johnson’s book The Forest and the Trees, he notions that in order to understand the concept of social life, we have to not only look at the individual, but also at the environment the individual is placed and how they interact and create social systems. Johnson explains that “a forest is simply a collection of individual trees, but it is more than that. It is also a collection of trees that exist in a particular relation to one another, and you cannot tell what that relation is by looking at the individual trees.” (Johnson 2014) By using the imagery of the forest and trees, he shows how social systems and people influence each other.
Within these social systems, culture is created and is used as “tools to make sense of things, including ourselves” (Johnson 2014). The first aspect of culture is beliefs. Beliefs serve the purpose of providing individuals with knowledge on what is considered true and false. The second aspect of culture is values. Values are ideas that are deemed more righteous within a group. The next aspect that helps to create culture is norms. Norms are values that are reinforced with social consequences. (McGinn 2015). Attitudes also contribute to the creation of a culture, by creating reactions based on the beliefs, values and norms. Lastly, Johnson illustrates that material culture is the last element that brings a culture together. When looking at material culture there are two distinguishes: high culture and low culture. When looking at high…

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