Cultures as States of Consciousness

© Article translated from the book “Negoziazione interculturale, comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali” (Intercultural Negotiation: Communication Beyond Cultural Barriers) copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Consulting Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available for qualified Publishers wishing to consider it for publication in English and other languages except for Italian and Arab. If you are interested in publishing or Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the webstite www.danieletrevisani.com 

State of sleep and state of consciousness

Intercultural communication can be conceived as a contact between different states of consciousness, a bridge between distant mental universes. The state of sleep is a state of consciousness, as is wakefulness, or relaxation, agitation and anxiety, or daydreaming. Italian culture is a state of consciousness, as is American or Chinese culture. Each culture enables the subject to pay more attention to certain aspects of the world and to neglect or ignore others.

Eskimos see over ten types of snow and have words for each of them. We see a single snow. For us snow is snow, that’s all. We struggle to even think that there are ten snows. According to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and psycholinguistics studies, the same language forms a structure of reality and shapes the reality we see. Every human being perceives reality in a different way, so (however difficult it is to accept) there is no “one reality” but more reality depending on the mental schemes used for perception (multiple reality theory). Ten different people, on a joint journey, will give ten different accounts of the same journey, despite having been exposed to the same external phenomena.

An external phenomenon (presumed objective reality) does not automatically produce the same subjective experience of the phenomenon (perceptual reality). This is unacceptable to some, the rejection of this concept produces human and managerial rigidity, conflicts, wars, economic disasters, and business failures. Incommunicability arises even within the individual himself, who is dissociated between his own conscious self (for example, professional identity) and his own unconscious (seat of dreams, aspirations, ancestral drives and instincts).

The individual who does not communicate with himself (for example, in the inner dialogue between the rational component, emotions and animal instinct) has difficulty in recognizing his own emotional states, does not understand some of his behaviors or does not know how to explain them, would like to be in one way – eg: extroverted, assertive, calm, integrated, comfortable, confident, flexible – and is in the opposite condition, unable to understand why. At the same time, the individual who “does not know” applies cultural rules and patterns without being aware of them, acts without awareness of what rules, principles, precepts, canons, directions, customs, guidelines or implicit theories he is using.

Principle 4 – Internal incommunicability of the individual himself Successful communication depends on:

  • the ability to put the intra-individual components in contact with each other, and unblock communication between the different components of the subject himself (conscious, subconscious and unconscious levels);
  • the degree of awareness acquired by the subject himself with respect to his own culture, in terms of values, beliefs, patterns, attitudes and other acquired cultural traits;
  • the ability to remove intrapsychic “background noise” (anxieties, worries, fixations, psychological noises) and to implement a strong mental presence during meetings and communicative exchanges.

© Article translated from the book “Negoziazione interculturale, comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali” (Intercultural Negotiation: Communication Beyond Cultural Barriers) copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available for any Publisher wishing to consider it for publication in English and other languages except for Italian and Arab whose rights are already sold and published. If you are interested in publishing the book in English, or in Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the webstite www.danieletrevisani.com 

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