There are many different kinds of culture. For a moment in my time at Parkfield I made a connection in my mind, an epiphany if you please. “My standard definition of culture is too narrow.” I realized that any group of people who shares traditions, has there own vocabulary, there own activity’s, or rituals could be described as having there own culture.
There are some forms of culture which occur on the micro scale that easily escape detection. For example, sharing a traditional long walk to 711 and passing a particular brand of cigarette back and forth is an element of culture within a friendship. Culture can exist between just two people. There are elements which are unique to that setting, there is vocabulary, method, timing and tradition. There are cultures which are more obvious, cultures which encompass ones way of life. I’d call these “enveloping cultures.” I don’t know if it’s a personality type, or if this is common to all human beings, but I bask and glow in a new enveloping culture. I feel as if I am a jungle explorer, discovering ancient temples or hidden caves beneath waterfalls as I dive deeper as if for pearls within the depths of a new culture.
To the outsider, enveloping cultures seem incredibly strange. In all honesty… all culture is strange. Often times rituals seem arbitrary, with older cultures the purpose behind certain rituals may have come and gone, they still however serve to unite those involved. Culture provides a medium and center for social creatures to interact, it often includes systems of morality, and provides life purpose. Culture serves as a central set of social rules for maintaining a balanced and healthy community. Even Micro-cultures often serves to benefit basic needs.
As Family’s have grow decentralized, and corporations seek more and more to control our culture, the natural organic nature of culture has changed. Corporate engineered culture has not grown out of years of benefiting the community it served, it has grown out of capitalism and consumption. Science has done it’s fare share of dissembling culture, as many have turned away from religion, and myth. These things once served purpose, served as outlets for our emotional needs, and served as tools for guiding good choices. We exist in a unique world where culture is as real as ever, but no longer existing directly as a tool for our benefit.
The grandest thing I can imagine is creating an enveloping culture of my own. I wish to discover a way to organically allow a new and unique culture to blossom from my life. I think this not only takes a sense of openness, but a fearlessness, and perhaps even a bit of recklessness. It takes the courage to do new and strange things, and to lead others to engage in them as well. It takes abandonment, in exchange for an embrace with what may be seen by outsiders as absurd.
There are enough beautiful cultures in existence as it is. I realize I am naive to seek to create my own so brashly having experienced so little. But I want to become a participant in everything I respect, and I learn through doing. This may be a weakness. Or this may be my place on this earth. I will continue to respect, admire, and immerse myself in other cultures as much as possible. But like an artist, or a writer, what better way is there to learn then to practice your own creation while in the process of discovering and learning from others works. I have myself decided to strive to create tradition with those I care for, to invent new words, to pioneer new perspectives!
Nothing would get done without naivety.
Where shall I start?