The point of this project was to find out whether or not syncretism has happened in our school. To do this, I surveyed other students and, to get more in depth, analyzed an example-- myself. I believe that syncretism has happened to some extent. People aren't even aware of most of the syncretism that has happened. We just assume that it's the "American culture." Things like music, television, and movies all come from different cultural backgrounds, but they have been so influenced by other cultures and the "American culture" that they are no longer recognizable. Then, since we can't categorize them any more, we say they are "American." In this way, America truly is a melting pot.

Other examples of syncretism are more obvious. There is a current trend among both boys and girls to wear Buddhist prayer bead bracelets. I think most people realized that they were originally an Asian style. But we took it as our own and now if someone from another country saw them, they would assume it was an American trend.

But there are some examples of non-syncretism. Our school has many cultural clubs that focus on one culture alone. This separatism prevents total integration with other cultures.

But is syncretism a good or bad thing? At the end of this project, I would have to say that my answer is, "I don't know." Syncretism and the fusion of all cultures into one mass culture is one way to enhance understanding and acceptance, but it also takes all the variety out of life. Yet if we do not syncretize at all, it could lead to the balkanization of certain cultures and increased tension between different ethnicities. If I had to choose whether or not to syncretize, I would opt for partial syncretism. I think that if we took all the positive aspects of the different cultures and left out the bad, the mass culture that is formed would be ideal, or at least as close to it as we could get. We should also keep certain beliefs and traditions intact in order to preserve their beauty for the rest of history.

Humanity is searching for answers, trying to find a way to get along with his fellow man. Syncretism might be one way of achieving this goal, but we must remember to preserve individuality, because that is what makes us free, and what makes us human.


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