Which culture foments the toughest minds?

#1
Super-broad question, I know.

And I've got my opinions here.

But will withhold them until some folks weigh in.

I will say at the outset that I believe some cultures are more adamant in their positions, perhaps partly due to a ubiquitous drive for independence.

 

BlueB

Hall of Fame
#7
South African Afrikaners, "Boor", are very tough. Their national identity was shaped by hardships of cultivating arid semi-desert into farmlands, fighting of the hostile African tribes and British invaders...

In general, the nations that don't have much, or were historically through tough times, have tougher people. And no, that eagle doesn't rank very high on that ladder.

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#8
South African Afrikaners, "Boor", are very tough. Their national identity was shaped by hardships of cultivating arid semi-desert into farmlands, fighting of the hostile African tribes and British invaders...

In general, the nations that don't have much, or were historically through tough times, have tougher people. And no, that eagle doesn't rank very high on that ladder.

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I guess now we come to the part where "toughest mind" is clarified, no?

As a starting point, which culture do you believe claims the toughest debaters?
 

BlueB

Hall of Fame
#9
As a starting point, which culture do you believe claims the toughest debaters?
No idea.
I actually don't even understsnd why "tough" should be used for a debater? Skillful, for sure, tough, not so much. Tough means to persist and insist, no matter if right or made look wrong, which is good to force your own way, but not necessarily by winning the debate.

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#10
No idea.
I actually don't even understsnd why "tough" should be used for a debater? Skillful, for sure, tough, not so much. Tough means to persist and insist, no matter if right or made look wrong, which is good to force your own way, but not necessarily by winning the debate.

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Doggedness alone doesn't do it for me.

Believe that "toughness" also encompasses resilience and endurance. Absolutely characterizes high level debate, as an uncompromising devotion to a particular cause or ideal is tempered by adaptability in the face of a worthy challenger.
 
#13
I'll bite...

Jews come to mind, first.

But who knows?
It's an interesting thought; so many extraordinarily bright folks in their numbers.

The genesis of the thread was a musing about how the inner workings of a society may shape it.

Someone earlier had suggested that there is an experiential component for "toughening." That has merit, too.

At the end of the day, I think there's much more to it than mere genetics.
 

Enga

Hall of Fame
#14
It's not just a tough upbringing that makes you a tough person. You need to learn how to win in life as well. Constantly getting the sand kicked in your face your entire life and never having a chance to win at something can create a meek personality as well. A good balance of toughness and opportunity is needed to create a strong willed person, I THINK.
 
#15
The more hardships you go through, the tougher you will get
This is an absurd and incorrect conclusion. I deal every day with people who've been through incessant and brutal hardships in their lives, and they are just as apt to be broken, defeated, and depressed, sometimes barely functional, as a result. Has the OP not heard of post traumatic stress disorder, for example? How hardship ultimately affects you depends on many things, not least of those being genetic makeup and early life family experiences. But the belief that hardship inevitably makes you tougher could hardly be more wrong.
 
#16
This is an absurd and incorrect conclusion. I deal every day with people who've been through incessant and brutal hardships in their lives, and they are just as apt to be broken, defeated, and depressed, sometimes barely functional, as a result. Has the OP not heard of post traumatic stress disorder, for example? How hardship ultimately affects you depends on many things, not least of those being genetic makeup and early life family experiences. But the belief that hardship inevitably makes you tougher could hardly be more wrong.
Fair enough. There’s a line of how severe the hardship is, after which it becomes detrimental (as you said, PTSD). And also, some people deal with hardships better than others. There’s people that have grown up in tough households for example that turn out as good, some as bad.
 
#20
(y) Love it!
But, only the upper classes, which had noting to do besides intellectual exercise, culture, politics and war...
That’s why slaves are so important.

We still have slaves today. In America we call them Mexicans. Trick is how to get them to do all the stuff I don’t want to for little or nothing and keep them out of our country. Tough problem.

It’s nice to see our leisure class in America still interested in pursuing intellectual exercises, politics and culture.
 
#22
This is an absurd and incorrect conclusion. I deal every day with people who've been through incessant and brutal hardships in their lives, and they are just as apt to be broken, defeated, and depressed, sometimes barely functional, as a result. Has the OP not heard of post traumatic stress disorder, for example? How hardship ultimately affects you depends on many things, not least of those being genetic makeup and early life family experiences. But the belief that hardship inevitably makes you tougher could hardly be more wrong.
Thank you for your respectful and thoroughly considered reply.

The OP has indeed heard of the condition that you named. And is, for the record—since you seem to think otherwise—more than familiar with a gamut of similar afflictions.

The question is about an overarching cultural influence, as that rather clearly stated inquiry has apparently gone past you.

Your response is noted. Better luck next time, sir.
 
#23
Remember Switzerland stood up to Na*zi Germany, that's tough stuff. Basically Germany could have conquered Switzerland, but it would have been a Stalingrad for them. The Swiss had a formidable network of forts and the mountains, in addition they were very well armed. So Hitler decided it wasn't worth it.
 
#25
It's not just a tough upbringing that makes you a tough person. You need to learn how to win in life as well. Constantly getting the sand kicked in your face your entire life and never having a chance to win at something can create a meek personality as well. A good balance of toughness and opportunity is needed to create a strong willed person, I THINK.
I feel like a strong sense of self-confidence—bolstered by relentless inquisitiveness—can yield an individual who is willing to buck convention and seek out his or her own satisfactory answers. The people who refuse to accept status quo, and instead develop alternative methodologies, make the most use of their minds, for my money.

I'm of the belief that this formula is achieved most readily in societies with a rebellious undercurrent.
 
#26
I'll bite...

Jews come to mind, first.

But who knows?
It's an interesting thought; so many extraordinarily bright folks in their numbers.

The genesis of the thread was a musing about how the inner workings of a society may shape it.

Someone earlier had suggested that there is an experiential component for "toughening." That has merit, too.

At the end of the day, I think there's much more to it than mere genetics.
The reason why it looks like they have more bright minds than other folks is because they support each other and silently discriminate against others. Check the number of not so talented Jewish actors at Hollywood. Another factor is they are wealthier in average and therefore have more access to education and healthcare.
 
#27
Super-broad question, I know.

And I've got my opinions here.

But will withhold them until some folks weigh in.

I will say at the outset that I believe some cultures are more adamant in their positions, perhaps partly due to a ubiquitous drive for independence.

Not technocracies. The best cultures to promote a tough mind are cultures where death is ever present. Ancient Greece, Rome, and the like. Even Europe until that monstrous entity known as the European Union stiffled humanity's chance to attain even loftier heights through further global wars.
 
#28
The reason why it looks like they have more bright minds than other folks is because they support each other and silently discriminate against others. Check the number of not so talented Jewish actors at Hollywood. Another factor is they are wealthier in average and therefore have more access to education and healthcare.
now now..
 
#29
Can a free thinker have a tough mind? I see great discipline in asian countrys but not alot of creativity, whereas the usa has poor disipline and great creativity.
 
#31
Can a free thinker have a tough mind? I see great discipline in asian countrys but not alot of creativity, whereas the usa has poor disipline and great creativity.
As @FedFosterWallace retorted, I find your conclusion troublesome. A free thinker is a hunter in a world of ideas, a conformist a hog feasting on the trite trough of conventional wisdom. It takes no effort or discipline whatsoever (unless you deem indolence and apathy to be a form of the latter) to be the opposite of a "free thinker" (oxymoronic as this concept may be. An enslaved thinker? A programmed dreamer?)
 

Enga

Hall of Fame
#33
Can a free thinker have a tough mind? I see great discipline in asian countrys but not alot of creativity, whereas the usa has poor disipline and great creativity.
Japan and Korea have a lot of creativity. Though I think some other countries are too small or too poor to have any impact on art on a world scale. I think the Philippines where I'm from is a very beaten down and poor country. There is talk of Filipino fighting spirit, but I don't think it's as common as people say, or else things wouldn't be so tough here. I think most people here are "happy" only because they accept things the way they are.
 

Enga

Hall of Fame
#35
Japanese attitude for work: "If one can do it, I can do it. If no one can do it, I must do it."

Arabic attitude for work: "Wallahi if one can do it, let him do it. If no one can do it, ya-habibi how can i do it ?"
That made me lol but I do wanna say that I have seen some pretty strong willed Arabs. Also, geographically they come from a pretty bleak place. I'm not surprised if that is their mentality.
 

Bartelby

Talk Tennis Guru
#37
This question was bound to result in racism through tendentious cross-cultural comparisons like this one.

The Arabs got a lot further in the game called world domination than the Japanese, but I would not consider this a good basis for analysis.

Japanese attitude for work: "If one can do it, I can do it. If no one can do it, I must do it."

Arabic attitude for work: "Wallahi if one can do it, let him do it. If no one can do it, ya-habibi how can i do it ?"
 

Bartelby

Talk Tennis Guru
#38
The current administration declared just recently that the banning of Huawei was part of the great clash of civilisations, so 'culturalising' money and power conflicts has a great future.
 
#39
I admire the Japanese culture. They seem to give 100% towards making things the best they can be, don't whine and try to do for themselves rather than automatically turning to others for problem-solving. Very creative and innovative, too. Of course, I hear they can be overly harsh in their society, but I really know quite little about it.
 

max

Hall of Fame
#41
I admire the Japanese culture. They seem to give 100% towards making things the best they can be, don't whine and try to do for themselves rather than automatically turning to others for problem-solving. Very creative and innovative, too. Of course, I hear they can be overly harsh in their society, but I really know quite little about it.
I don't cotton to beheading.
 

Northern

Hall of Fame
#43
The reason why it looks like they have more bright minds than other folks is because they support each other and silently discriminate against others. Check the number of not so talented Jewish actors at Hollywood. Another factor is they are wealthier in average and therefore have more access to education and healthcare.
Yes, the Jews with their ancestral luck, always being pampered everywhere they go. An easy and smooth ride throughout their history, while superior races labor and struggle and suffer prosecution everywhere they go. It's not fair.
 
#44
Yes, the Jews with their ancestral luck, always being pampered everywhere they go. An easy and smooth ride throughout their history, while superior races labor and struggle and suffer prosecution everywhere they go. It's not fair.
Oh my...

Also, its "persecution", not prosecution (prosecution is when you get arrested).
 
#47
I admire the Japanese culture. They seem to give 100% towards making things the best they can be, don't whine and try to do for themselves rather than automatically turning to others for problem-solving. Very creative and innovative, too. Of course, I hear they can be overly harsh in their society, but I really know quite little about it.
Women have no rights and abused on a day to day basis.
 
#48
Super-broad question, I know.

And I've got my opinions here.

But will withhold them until some folks weigh in.

I will say at the outset that I believe some cultures are more adamant in their positions, perhaps partly due to a ubiquitous drive for independence.

I think old Sparta in mediterranian. they were a waring culture and very tough. time of peace tend to develop spoiled minds. but never fear... WW3 may be far away. With global warming and Exploding population, we are going to have to fight for limited resources, when that happens,,, it is time for War.
 
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