CULTURE: a behavioural fungus feeding on the substrate of ethnicity

Every living thing encounters existence and evolves into an awareness by way of its specific nurturing environment and the influence of any established social patterns of behaviour. A human sociological culture in particular, is a complex of behaviours significantly determined and sustained by certain peculiarities of environment, food source, and perpetuated conventions, many of which are imbued with religious implications. Ingesting the concoctions infused from local cultures, conventions and traditions induces the quasi hallucinations about the manner in which procedures and social interactions must be carried out. En mass, individuals will shout in unison, or punch the air above their heads, or rock backwards and forwards, or kneel in rows, or march in rectangular arrays, or weep histrionically, etc., all because of a cultural imperative that is ignored at their peril.

The diversity of cultural forms of dress, dance, art and language is a valuable existential enrichment. Whether conserving any particular culture is worth considering or not will depend upon its level of intrinsic self-interest. Cultures that seek to promote their own simplifications from a self-appointed perspective of superiority need to be treated with a great deal of suspicion. Pragmatic strategies need to be developed to constrain aggressive cultures that would subjugate any that do not conform to their self-serving objectives. If on the other hand a culture is deemed to be worthy of encouragment, then a system of education would need to be established to promote it. Unless this is done with considerable preparation, it will not succeed. Just as in the biological arena, species become extinct unless their environment is carefully simulated and most if not all of the intrusive competition is excluded.

Religious and political groups however, have assiduously permeated the local cultural forms with symbols and ideas which promote bizarre beliefs about their own form of deity. So powerful is this cultural nurture, that fanatical prejudice and deluded unrealistic aspirations seem to overwhelm all vestiges of ordinary common sense. Attitudes are encouraged and perpetuated whereby certain groups are assumed to be 'superior', and other groups designated as being 'inferior' and perhaps even 'subhuman'... whatever that might mean. Masters subjugate slaves, the 'chosen' are superior to the 'banished', upper classes and castes are more worthy than the lower, and 'civilization' is imposed as being superior to 'barbarism'. A culture tends to be a social in-group which constrains the thinking and actions of its members. Any confrontation or competition between two or more distinct cultures, usually results in the more rigorous and single-minded of each promoting decapitation as the only expedient mechanism of preventing the propagation of the spores of the other culture. This phenomenon is a consequence of the intransigence and resistance of either culture to the perspective of the other... both of which are usually equally ludicrous.

A culture is frequently not conducive to creativity. Internally, the social conventions, traditions and rules of a culture, written or unspoken, are frequently those that prove to be an impediment to the creation and implementation of new ideas. Perversely however, it is often the traumatic experiences of an individual, driven to break with the conventions, that are the basis of artistic originality. A self-awareness constrained by a culture frequently resorts to the dreaming state, as a condition whereby the rules are broken and creative cross-fertilization alternatives are suggested, but so intransigent and protective of their own hallucinations is the establishment, that death is the only alternative to exile and excommunication. There will always be a conflict between cultural or group continuity and the deviations of individuality. What evolves depends upon the strength of the social allegiances that are forged. Whether it is a dispute over what items of clothing are appropriate or what sort of damage certain drugs are responsible for or whatever, the social group will evolve in whatever direction the most powerful associations induce it to go.