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Emblems of Cultural Relativism and Ethical Egoism in the Other Bird

The other bird is an article that seeks to emancipate and invoke the brain to peer yonder than what is within the range of the eye. It does this by overlooking general tendencies within society. From the society, it further creates an array of other components mainly that make up a society. Some of these components that are rife within a society are ethics and culture. Thus, in order to achieve the purpose of this paper, I will juxtapose approaches of cultural relativism and ethical egoism as portrayed in the contents of this article.

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Cultural relativism can be defined as the close scrutiny of ethical and moral systems and the belief that no one’s system is equally better than the other (Glacier 44). Thus, from this definition one understands that the belief in right and wrong is an invention of the society. The ultimate belief that one is morally upright or not or one’s ethics are right or wrong is a judgment therein created by one’s cultural perspective. However, cultural relativism reinforces more aspects rather than just morality or ethics.

Relative to “The Other Bird,” cultural relativism is depicted in various scenarios. According to the writer, the phrase, “There are two birds in the tree of life. One eats. The other watches”, is an old line that surpasses the availability of information (Underground Grammarian 123). The inferred meaning is that the then society was information deficit. This is in comparison to the tech savvy and informed current society. Cultural relativism is apparent in the belief that today’s society is more informed than the society in which the phrase was developed. On the contrary, it is the current generation who are less informed or less educated in the same context. The explanation for this is explained in how blind sighted we are on the chunks of information that we constantly imbibe from books or from class. Thus, the belief that the modern day society is more informed or learned than the old day society is only an assertion created by cultural difference.

Culture in a different analogy may be seen as a manifestation of an individual’s intellectual capacity. Based on this definition, there is a disconnect between the writer’s perception of knowledge and the widely acclaimed notion that academic excellence is knowledge. The writer highlights a scenario of Doctor Faust. According to the writer, Doctor Faust has mastered in many discipline and excelled exemplary (Underground Grammarian 123). However, he claims that he came to the sudden realization that he knows nothing. In light of this scenario the writer makes it known that knowledge is not a question of memory. Instead, the deduction is in how one can apply and follow in-line to their understanding. Thus, the societal understanding that knowledge is in excellence in education varies from one person to another.

Similarly, culture relativism is exemplified in the writer’s disapproval of the description of people called teachers (Underground Grammarian 123). According to him, a teacher should neither be disorderly nor querulous. Also, he disapproves complaining, contention or judgment from someone who calls themselves a teacher. The writer’s act of criticizing the tendencies above born in someone who calls themselves a teacher shows the varying beliefs in a teacher and the writer’s depiction of a teacher. Thus, it befits an example of a scenario that portrays cultural relativism. This ethical approach promotes the need to understand that other birds hail from varying cultures. Relative to modern day society cultural relativism should be exhibited as an act of appreciation of the dynamic cultures that represent people distinctiveness.

Ethical egoism is the belief that people are morally obligated to their own exclusive actions (Machan 3). An ethical egoist feels that it is their duty to promote their self-interests above those of others. Otherwise, they stand to benefit from the result of helping other people. Therefore, ethical egoism is widely promoted by the need of one to outshine their goals or in pursuit of excellence. In current age, it is mainly manifested in trying to create better welfare.

Ethical egoism in context to “The Other Bird” is evident and is exemplified where the writer gives a comparison of the eating and the watching bird (Underground Grammarian 123). He says the modern day has reduced people to eating birds that do not take note of the watching bird. This proposition may pave the way for the inference that people are inclined to materialism without taking not of the have-nots. This is further conjectured in the line, “Can the watching bird die, while the eating bird goes on eating?” Similarly, in another context, it may be an exposition of two people one with the power of sight which may be related to wisdom and the other immersed in frivolous actions. The watching bird in context to ethical egoism may not feel obligated to emancipate the eating bird. Instead, the watching bird does not change its stance but continues to watch.

According to the writer, the lack of ability to watch is supposed to be rendered as an acquired deficit. This contradicts with the belief that it’s genetic inheritance or a trait of character. However, the frightening possibility as to why one who is neither an infant nor a lunatic to watch may be brought about by people who are neither infants nor lunatics. Relative to ethical egoism is the terrifying possibility that people may take advantage over others to take away what they have. This is usually in pursuit of their goals; the exemplification of sight by the writer may be material possession or success. Further pondering may lead to the possibility that the always lack of sight for a lunatic may have been an action of ethical egoism.

The writer in an instance mentions the uncanny behavior of Martha driving Mary out. Thus, it’s a creation of selfish and anti-social motives (Underground Grammarian 123). This is another example of ethical egoism manifested in human beings. Further, the writer argues that an eating bird, in this case, the ethical egoist sees only the other eating birds. However, it feels some kind of wrong when the watching bird is awake. This is the contention that other people are not happy when the others are working. Similarly, they feel that they are the only ones who are supposed to be in a better position.

Additionally, the writer makes it known that school promotes ethical egoism. This is in trying to instill traits that are like those of an eating bird. Equally, the writer depicts vices promoted by the school such as making money, picking up some skills, commuting and computing relative to ethical egoism (Underground Grammarian 123). However, the writer warns on the impending danger of finding oneself alone with their resources alone. Thus, the advice that one needs to put into perspective communication skills to avoid the repercussions of ethical egoism in pursuit of their self-interests. Also, the allusion to look into the outer space rather than the inner space is the promotion of the need to shun ethical egoism. The inference from this approach is that other birds should recoil from actions that may promote ethical egoism. This is in a bid to promote a society in which people can help one another in one accord for each and every person’s better good.


In a nutshell, the two approaches; ethical egoism and culture relativism have succinctly explained the various dimensions that society manifests itself. Ethics and culture which have been widely discussed as above are of importance in society. This is due to their role in acting as guidelines to the people within a certain society. However, in spite of their existence, “The Other Bird,” shows the need for flexibility in understanding varying natures of people exhibited in their culture. Also, the article reinforces the need to help people in society and shun ethical egoism. Thus, this article is a recommended read to attain the necessary skills towards a wholesome life. Also, this article helps one to understand people’s nature and therein adjust accordingly. Likewise, it helps to emancipate people from the misconception of ethical egoism. Similarly, it helps in understanding that people are culturally relative thus shunning the imposition of unfair judgment.

Works Cited: Emblems of Cultural Relativism and Ethical Egoism in the Other Bird

“The Underground Grammarian.” Image: the Journal of Nursing Scholarship, vol. 18, no. 3, 2012, pp. 123-123.

Glacier, Osire. “The Use of Cultural Relativism for the Purpose of Delegitimizing Fundamental Rights.” Universal Rights, Systemic Violations, and Cultural Relativism in Morocco, 2013, pp. 41-60.

Machan, Tibor R. “Egoism, Psychological Egoism, and Ethical Egoism.” Wiley Encyclopedia of Management, 2015, pp. 1-4.

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