Does culture matter?
What is culture?
Culture may be defined as "the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively."
But other definitions include:
- Culture refers to the cumulative deposit of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the universe, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving.
- Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music, and arts.
So the word cultural includes a long list of different characteristics of "relating to the ideas, customs, and social behavior of a society." Is culture a product of the mind or the mind a product of the culture?
It has been written that "Culture is communication, communication is culture" but because culture is the product of many aspects and elements of individuals interacting in a variety of conditions over generations of time it has produced the Theory of Cultural Determinism.
Cultural Determinism concludes that the "ideas, meanings, beliefs, and values people learn as members of a society determines the dominant and recessive elements of the human nature of the members of society. While People make choices as individuals they are also the product of what they learn generationally."
It is generally accepted that Culture in its broadest sense "is cultivated behavior; that is the totality of a person's learned, accumulated experience which is socially transmitted, or more briefly, behavior through social learning."
A Greek Prophet
Polybius as a Greek historian saw a change in the customs of Rome which was causing it to deteriorate as a society. Most societies care for their elderly and infirm through the immediate and extended families, the clan. When the families were unable to meet these needs entirely by their own efforts communities would step into the breach through charitable means. This was most often part of the religious practices of a given culture. Just two hundred years ago this was part of the definition of religion which was the pious performance of a duty to your fellow man. The idea and practice of caring for the needy of society by charity alone strengthened the Roman culture and the society of Rome leading it to become a great nation.
With the success and affluence of Rome, the temples including those which attended to the social welfare of the poor, became centers of wealth. Eventually, these temples and the people who depended upon them applied to the power elite to fund their treasuries. What had once been entirely dependent on the practice of charity became addicted to benefits provided by tribute and taxes. With the rise of the Imperial cult of Rome cam the rise of despots and tyrants and the loss of liberty.
Polybius saw this change and predicted its outcome over a hundred years before the first Caesar and the scheme of Herod's Corban was established in the temple at Jerusalem. The culture of Rome had provided for the needy of their society through some form of charity but under this new deal offered by men who exercised authority one over the other the people would degenerate, liberty would be lost and the republic would perish.
"The masses continue with an appetite for benefits and the habit of receiving them by way of a rule of force and violence. The people, having grown accustomed to feed at the expense of others and to depend for their livelihood on the property of others... institute the rule of violence;  and now uniting their forces massacre, banish, and plunder, until they degenerate again into perfect savages and find once more a master and monarch." 
The authoritarian State uses force and violence to become the Benefactors of the people. They force one class of citizen to provide for another. Proverbs 23 warned and Christ forbid that type of socialist government.
John the Baptist also saw a problem with this socialist problem of compelled redistribution of wealth and preached against it calling the people to change their thinking and make straight the way or culture of God.
But is that the only way culture is passed down to the next generation?
Cultural appropriation is "the adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of another culture".
Are the attitudes, characters, perspectives, sensibilities, and even general temperament of the people affected solely by social learning of culture?
What of the behavior of individuals is the result of learned and practiced culture and what is the result of inherited traits?
- "Two independent medical sources have estimated that 20,000-23,000 incorrect transfers of babies occur each year in US hospitals. Incorrect transfers, such as bringing the baby to the wrong room for a medical procedure, are quickly corrected for the most part. Still, for every incorrect transfer, two families go home with the wrong child." Nancy L Segal Ph.D.
These discoveries of both twins and non-twins have revealed an uncanny similarity in siblings raised by different families in correlation to attitudes, character, perspective, and sensibility toward music, art, social behaviors and even politics.
Twins separated at birth have been seen to choose things as mundane as the same names, like the same foods and have the same opinions about a variety of things. They have shown more similarity between themselves than the families that raised them. So culture, especially in a closed or isolated society, may be passed down by genetics or even some sort of quantum, even spiritual, communication or collective consciousness and not just cultural environment.
So, while culture may be a way of life of a group or nation of people--the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next, there may also be deeper connections, motivations, and determining factors than mere observation or taught behavior by what is listed as the culture of society.
Certainly, culture may result from symbolic communication including group skills, knowledge, attitudes, values, and motives. The meanings of the symbols are learned and deliberately perpetuated and transmitted from generation to generation in society through its traditions, artifacts, customs, stories, and institutions are not the sole source of beliefs, values, and attitudes of the individual.
Culture may result in part from collective programming of the minds of the members of society to accept or reject, pursue or shun views and practices that distinguish members of one people, nation or category of people from another but there are clearly other factors affecting the behavior of individuals in society.
Religion itself is a cultural system of behaviors and practices. The parameters of religion may affect world views, establish sacred texts and holy places, and even form ethics, and societal organizations that relate humanity to what an anthropologist has called "an order of existence".
Religion originally was not just a set of orthodox believes about a supreme being but was actually the practices generated by a set of values adhered to by the probity of faith. We are not condemned to our culture or heredity but have choices that can lead to overcoming both social and inherited pressures.
The early Church had "ideas, meanings, beliefs and values" which came about through repentance and rebirth. Those "ideas, meanings, beliefs and values" may no longer be apart of the religion of Modern Christians.
Loss of culture, being a product of centuries of struggle for survival as a people, is irretrievable through "mere observation or taught behavior" requiring the intervention of a "quantum, even spiritual" awakening.
Today, many cultures unique to the nations of Europe are facing extinction by mass immigration and low birth rates of local cultures which are being outproduced y the invading cultures.
What is causing low birthrates? and is that a product of cultural abandonment and the creeping influence of a conflicting cultural identity?
And what is driving the immigration of a counter-culture and what factors are present or missing that allows it domination?
Are the low birthrates and mass immigration we see in Europe and the middle east merely symptoms of a fundamental shift in the cultures of societies and their values?
There are causes and root causes. Root causes often go unseen unless we are willing to examine our own souls and minds in greater depth.
- "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33
What is the culture of righteousness?
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- Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
- Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets [were] until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
- "But when a new generation arises and the democracy falls into the hands of the grandchildren of its founders, they have become so accustomed to freedom and equality that they no longer value them, and begin to aim at pre-eminence; and it is chiefly those of ample fortune who fall into this error. 6 So when they begin to lust for power and cannot attain it through themselves or their own good qualities, they ruin their estates, tempting and corrupting the people in every possible way. 7 And hence when by their foolish thirst for reputation they have created among the masses an appetite for gifts and the habit of receiving them, democracy in its turn is abolished and changes into a rule of force and violence. 8 For the people, having grown accustomed to feed at the expense of others and to depend for their livelihood on the property of others, as soon as they find a leader who is enterprising but is excluded from the houses of office by his penury, institute the rule of violence; 9 and now uniting their forces massacre, banish, and plunder, until they degenerate again into perfect savages and find once more a master and monarch" Polybius: The Histories (composed at Rome around 130 BC)Fragments of Book VI, p289
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