Culture Blindness

In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when Indiana and his companions are searching for one of the clues that will lead them to the holy grail they go to a library and look for symbols to help them on their journey. They find two of the symbols-Roman numerals- but are stumped when searching for the numeral ten (X). It is only when Indiana looks from a higher perspective that they see that they have been standing on a giant X the entire time.

I think it is that way in society as well. Mankind is constantly looking to grow and become better, but how can we be sure that our choices and the directions we decide to go in are correct? I heard the phrase “cultural growth” recently, and although I don’t remember the source it got me thinking. What defines growth? How can one be sure that a culture is headed in the right direction and the supposed growth is not the beginnings of a cancerous tumor?

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that culture or society should remain stagnant and unchanging. Without considering other ways of doing things and integrating new ideas a nation cannot survive, especially in the modern world with its free flow of information. It is simply interesting to note how cultural critics and progressive thinkers are so positive that the changes that they seek are correct.

History can shed some light on the impact of man’s choices upon his environment. Lessons of the past inform us of mistakes in theories and actions. Without historical examples to point to, how would we even know where we stand in regards to liberty, equality, enlightened thinking, and moral standards?

However even history fails in the end. Every situation is unique; every people instilled with a different set of values and expectations. Technology and what we know about the universe is changing every day. People are deluged with a flood of conflicting information without compass or guide to determine what is true or noble. In a certain sense we are more blind now than all our ancestors were. Despite the amazing advancement the human race has undergone in the past 200 years we still can’t look beyond the present with any certainty. No one can know for certain the long term effects of daily events, and unlike Indiana Jones we cannot simply get a “better view.”

I say this not to be pessimistic, but simply as an observation. Before we commit to a course of action we should think about the consequences to ourselves, loved ones, and our fellow human beings. As only the long, backward gaze of history, and ultimately the wisdom of God can show us the right or wrong of our decisions I think we owe it to both of them to be as responsible and as careful as we can.

 

Advertisements

Moving Along…

I’ve been doing some thinking lately about this blog and what I want to do with it. I first started it with the intention of writing about minimalism and the philosophy and beliefs behind it. Minimalism is a great way to live life, and although I still believe in it I am not so sure that the focus of this blog is going to remain there. There are so many great minimalist blogs and writers out there and most do it better than me.

I never intended this blog to be a money maker for me, and I didn’t have any expectations of wide readership (although I am very grateful for all my readers!). But my writing interests are shifting away from minimalism and productivity. Too often I find myself writing posts that are too trite for my liking. I want and need to explore the breadth of my writing potential, and minimalism is too small a topic for that.

So, hopefully starting soon, I will be reworking this blog to give a different feel. I will still write about minimalism from time to time and I still think its a great philosophy. I’ll keep my old posts and pages. But the focus will be different. Post types and lengths will change. This is a new year! 2013 holds great things in store for me I am sure and I want to be able to write about them all and share them here.

Another thing I hope to do is become more active in looking at and interacting with other writers. Too often I have hit the “follow” button out of reciprocation and not actually taken the time to see what everyone contributes to this hobby/lifestyle called blogging.

Hopefully you, my readers, aren’t disappointed by this change, and I ask that you stick around to see whats in store. I’m certain it will be great!

Christmas All Year

When Ebenezer Scrooge went through his ordeal and comes out a changed man, he vowed to “honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” And he succeeded, becoming a man of love, joy , and compassion. The spirit of Christmas was in his heart all the year round. How can one be like Scrooge? How can we, living in this busy, modern, and oft times cruel world keep the attitude of Christmas all year?

For me Christmas is a time for giving. Not giving just presents or sharing a meal with my family, but of giving myself to my loved ones. As I’ve grown up (and even more strongly in the last couple years), I have come to realize that those I love needs to include to those who need help or are less fortunate than me. It is this love: from one person to another without precondition, reciprocation, or even thanks, that Christmas represents.

Keeping that kind of attitude all year long can be difficult. During the fall and spring school and work take up a lot of time. When summer arrives its time for vacations and cookouts and having fun. We get so busy with our own lives that we forget that we should be giving to others all the time. What kinds of things can you give all year in order to keep your Christmas spirit alive?

  • A word of encouragement.
  • A small token of appreciation.
  • Volunteering at a local charity.
  • Treating a friend to dinner.
  • Host a party and invite your neighbors.
  • Spend time with your loved ones doing things that you both enjoy.
  • Do something unexpectedly nice for a stranger.

These examples aren’t just things you can do during Christmas, but year-round. Just like Valentine’s Day isn’t the only time you should love your spouse and Veterans Day shouldn’t be the only time you are grateful for those who have died for your freedom, so too should Christmas not be a once in a year time to give of yourself. By embracing the idea that giving should be a selfless act and keeping in mind those who you love and are in need of compassion you can truly keep the spirit of Christmas all year long.