Let us understand how culture contributes towards the satisfaction of human needs, in other words, we shall understand the functions of culture.
1. It is through the help of culture that man succeeds in adjusting himself in his environment in the formation of culture, the geographical condition of the place has its inevitable impact. It is so because man is also influenced by nature.
At the same time, he effects changes also in his natural environment in order to suit his needs. For example, hills and rocks are leveled down for constructing roads and buildings, pathways are engineered beneath the bottoms of rivers, jungles are cut down, barren lands are converted into fertile pieces, quagmire land is dried and bridges are constructed upon rivers, etc.
The methods through which things of nature are thus converted and changed are parts of development of culture and some of their parts are so complex that it takes years to change them. So the nature of culture may be judged to the extent to which the natural environment is thus controlled.
2. With the help of culture man adjusts himself in his social environment. Just as many tries to control his natural environment, similarly he employees various methods for adjusting his relationships with other members of his society
Customs, ways of life and various other social rules are developed for controlling human behavior in the required manner. Through wars, victory, treaty and trade a relationship is established with others and accordingly methods of control of behavior are determined. Evidently, culture is an excellent means for social control.
3. Culture is helpful in the development of an individual’s personality. This function of culture is related with the above mentioned social functions. An individual’s personality goes on developing as he continues to establish his relationships with other members of his group.
Physical, mental and emotional development influences one’s society and culture. Thus cultural interactions promote the development of one’s personality.
Any simple culture may become so complex in due course that no person can participate in all its aspects. According to Linton, an individual may participate in aspects of culture in three ways:—
(1) In a universal form, that is to accept all those habits, ideas and emotional, reactions which other adults of the society accept; (2) In a particular way, that is, to accept those elements of culture which are accepted by a particular sex group or by a particular part of the society, and (3) Alternative way, that is, those parts of culture which only a few individuals are privileged to have.
The more a person is able to accept the alternative aspects, the more cultured he is supposed to be, in other words, his personality is considered to be better developed accordingly. Among the methods of appropriation of alternative aspects of culture, education occupies a very important place.