Whenever I try to introduce myself, the first thing that comes out of my mouth is my name. Then follows the tag I carry along with me that connects me to my parents and ancestors. Soon after that, a series of information extends itself, trying to elaborate about me. What I do, where I live, how I live, who I live with, what I eat, etcetera. That seems enough when I am trying to present a short version of myself. Is that enough to know me, who I am? These series of information can only present an outline of what we are, not the roots of who we are. To understand how strong a tree is, we need to check the grips of its roots, how far it is spread, how much earth it holds near its chest. To understand a person, we need to dig for his roots. The roots of culture.
The word culture, a common term to this day, took birth form the Latin word ‘cult’ or ‘cultus’. Since the beginning of 20th century, the term got extensive like a whip of fire. The word’s popularity and affinity towards the concept of growth and improvement attracted many prefixes before itself. Culture, today, has become one of the most variably used term. And the most misunderstood one too.
What is culture? Is it beliefs, thoughts, behavior pattern? Is it the way we live and conduct ourselves in front of others? Or is it what we do and how we do? These questions are their answers themselves. Our culture is not shown in the acts that we do, but the intentions behind those acts. What we think, how we feel, the foundations of our belief system is culture. We are not talking about prefix-culture, the newly emerged branches of cultures (like horticulture, work-culture). This is core, single, naked culture we need to understand. Culture is more of an abstract, impalpable entity. We cannot see it growing out of a person’s head, but we can feel it in his principles. When it comes to understand culture, we so futilely ignore the surges of feelings. The principles and feelings behind the way we live. We seem to have stop asking questions to ourselves. We keep on acting, not asking once to ourselves- why, for what and for whom. This is what culture reminds us. No group of elite minds have yet created a system of measuring the amount of culture in a human being. We sure have a system of understanding it, imbibing it- through civilization, because it is more easy to see things than feeling. Art, literature, philosophies, customs,traditions, way of living- are mere aspects of culture. They help us to reach out to culture. Unfortunately, we have started measuring culture with what our eyes see. That is where our ingenious mind fails to understand culture. Understanding of culture needs an open perspective that is boundless of the parameters of civilization. It is beyond what eyes can see, it lies in the realm where only heart can reach. Sadly, the parameters of being civilized govern our life today. The common notion of being cultured is being civilized.
What do you think of yourself today? You are smart because you have accumulated may degrees, that smartphone in your hand says you make a fair amount of earning. You have a wealthy house, a well groomed pet maybe. You can talk very effectively with a group of people. That makes you civilized. How much do we think of how cultured we are? How much values and ethics do we still have with us today? Have you ever thought that maybe we are missing out culture in our haste of getting more and more civilized. We are emphasizing more on being civilized. While we are busy polishing the branches, trying to make the leaves shinier and attractive, we are unaware of the fact that our old willow is getting hollow day by day. It is time, to move back to roots…