"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Monday, May 28, 2012

Talkin' Tradition

I tend to think of stuff like this Cherokee (NC) war dance as more cultural/traditional than anything in my life
Have you ever had people ask what your region is famous for or to tell them about your culture and drawn a blank? I have.  Well, I could maybe figure out a food* that is well-liked in this area, and perhaps tell you North Carolina grows a lot of tobacco, but I can't always find something that seems "traditional" and "cultural" that distinguishes my area from others.   Likely I'm just blind to those things or assume most people do that so how can that be cultural/traditional if it's normal?  Should I even be using those terms together like that?  Let me look them up ...

This was in South Horr, Kenya when Andrew went December 2011 - time for a wedding

OK, here is culture as defined by Dictionary.com

1.the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc.
2.that which is excellent in the arts, manners, etc.
3.a particular form or stage of civilization, as that of a certain nation or period: Greek culture.
4.development or improvement of the mind by education or training.
5.the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group: the youth culture; the drug culture.
and tradition

1.the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice: a story that has come down to us by popular tradition.
2.something that is handed down: the traditions of the Eskimos.
3. a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting: The rebellious students wanted to break with tradition.
4. a continuing pattern of culture beliefs or practices.
5. a customary or characteristic method or manner: The winner took a victory lap in the usual track tradition.
So I guess tradition is more the things that influence or make up culture? I don't know.  

Anyway, I read this in From Plato to NATO by David Gress, and wanted to see what you thought about the West not losing, but rejecting tradition.

"What Eliot saw was that the West was becoming a world, an outlook, and a culture that no longer wanted or needed tradition***.  The West by 1920 was not a civilization that had lost its traditional moorings, which one could perhaps restore or at least rediscover or describe. It was a civilization that rejected moorings of any sort. The essence of the modern West was that it had no essence, no heritage, no tradition. Tradition had become not the missing center of culture, but something that the culture increasingly regarded as its enemy."  (pg. 163)

***For Eliot this apparently meant "Western civilization needed both the church and the literary tradition of antiquity" and "the West was dying because it had forgotten its own tradition, one of myth and the hidden traces of the sacred." 

 Do you agree with Eliot's thoughts on the West's view of tradition?  Do you consider tradition as an enemy?  How could it be?  And how would you answer someone wanting to know about the cultural and/or traditional aspects of your area of the world?  What is it famous for? What do y'all do that distinguishes you from others?

*  We were asked this while in Syria and Andrew told them our region was (locally anyway) famous for its barbeque.  Yes, that's BBQ as a noun and it means THIS although, thankfully, I mostly only see it on sandwiches or plates.   That's better. Well, maybe not for a Muslim. Alas, we are neither Muslim nor Jew nor vegetarian.  And although the one asking never treated us any differently in the slightest, I was a little embarrassed/shy that Andrew said this in a culture that considers pork unclean.  Makes me feel like a dirty Christian ...  



Unknown said...

I've been trying to think of a comment since you posted this, and nothing's coming to mind. While I'm sure there are some traditions we maybe don't even think about (the different cultural assumptions and behaviors even just between the northern and southern US states probably means that we have very different and influential traditions), I can't think of anything specific I would call traditional. I think it may be true that the US has run from tradition, but couldn't completely do away with it. The way we live and the things we get used to doing become important to us and we pass them onto others, and that to me is tradition. We just don't call it that so much anymore, maybe because we want to be individuals, free from rules and structures set by other people in other times and places.

Susanne said...

Yes, now you see why I have a hard time coming up with things to share! Maybe they are so much a part of me, that I don't even think they are traditions...they are just the way things are. :) Thanks for your feedback. You always have good things to say!

observant observer said...

Hi Susan...wow, it's been a very long time since I read from your blog. I thought you have forgotten this completely because you've never written anything new the last time I checked. I did see that you were more active in Facebook, while I'm on facebook with impersonate figure to jump into sometimes hostile debates...(hahahaaaaa, which is just wasting times but funny looking at people being honest without revealing their identities).
Talking about culture and tradition, Indonesia has a lot of it, we have 33 provinces with different cultures and tradition. I think they all go back to tribalism that developed into more intricate elaboration. Every culture has its own traditional clothing and fabric, own language, own customs, own ceremonial ritual for wedding, baby birth, death, dance, food, etc. You should come to Indonesia to see those very interesting varied culture heheeeee....... So the world is actually very rich, isn't it?

Hope you're doing good and great, eventhough I also have read the loss of your father. May he rests in Peace for his love of God.

Susanne said...

Hey, OO! :) Glad to see you! Yeah, I have really neglected my blog in the last year, but I do post occasionally. So check back and comment as you feel able. I always enjoy your feedback. Indonesia indeed seems rich! Wow!

Thanks for your kind words about the loss of my grandfather.

Always good hearing from you!