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Photo by Efe Kurnaz on Unsplash

To Define Culture

There are many definitions for the word “culture.” Culture can be defined as a consistent pattern of behavior (the “what”). It can be a method of shared values among a group of people (the “why”). And my favorite definition — culture can be defined as dynamic and ever-changing in response to internal and external development (the “how”). Perhaps, culture has both consistent and dynamic elements. Defining “culture” allows us to analyze, preserve, and transform it — and gives us the possibility of designing new ones.

The Beginning

Seeking to find the balance between my Lebanese and American culture was prominent in my life. My Lebanese culture values family and community, while my American culture values the individual. Throughout my childhood and early adulthood, I struggled to find my value system, which seemed constantly at odds with the opposing values of my cultures. In fact, I have lived a life in each — childhood in my Lebanese culture surrounded by the undying love of my community and my early adulthood in my American culture surrounded by a strong sense of individuality and personal growth. In each of these lives, I abandoned the other — the self or the community. However, these phases were necessary for exploration — to find what works for me and what does not in each of my cultures…and the process was necessary to discover that life is not black or white, but in fact, a scale of grey with sprinkles of color. This means I do not have to choose between being Lebanese or being American. I have the fortunate opportunity to pick and choose different aspects of these cultures (and other cultures I experience) to create my own. …

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The current status. The future state. The potential of humanity.

In 2009, Aimee Mullins gave the TED talk, “It’s not fair having 12 pairs of legs.” From an art sculpture to height augmentation, her prosthetic legs gave her the opportunity to redefine and enhance what the body can be.

Aimee is not alone. Over the past several decades, the conversation about physical health has included not only physical illness and deficiencies, but also has expanded into the world of physical enhancement and augmentation. Improvements in technology and a better understanding of physical health has led to developments in contacts, wearable technology, pacemakers, heart pumps, and exoskeletons. These devices are only a few examples of how humanity has made the possibility of being bionic a reality — and yet, human optimization can develop beyond the physical attributes of the body. …


Sara Khalek

Engineer in the neuromodulation space in the bay area. Enthusiast for neuroscience, psychology, and the mind. Check out for her work.

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