What If Cultures Work Like A Grain?

We know that grains are more vibrant and produce more grain per seed, per acre, per dollar if they have been hybridized. Some would argue the hybridized result is not as easily digestible by humans as its predecessors because our bodies have not adapted to the changes involved. Could be true.

Children from the 1950s onward are larger than their ancestors. Until about the end of WW II most people married among people who had grown up close to them. Afterwards the gene pool was much expanded. Gene mixing produces more vitality and other characteristics.

How about cultures and religions?

There is a word for this – syncretism. What you get when you mix cultures or religions and some new amalgam forms.

The usual example of this is Rastafarian.  It combines aspects of Christian, Hebrew, and African practices and blends with the freed slave culture of Jamaica. Many find it hard to agree with all of it, but it is possible to see the pieces. Perhaps the easiest part to relate to is the music – Reggae. Bab Marley has certainly become an important character.

It began about 90 years ago and is still evolving. Where will it eventually lead?

It has always been there in religion

The Abrahamic religions have chosen to renounce the idea as they came to believe their religions were “revealed.” Nonetheless they retain aspects and important stories and parables that can be found in predecessors. Even within those there are divisions that relate to cultural pressures of their times.

Those differences seem large to the practitioners but less so to outsiders. For example, is there much fundamental difference moving from one Christian denomination to another.

The important question is do mergers improve the product or do they diminish it? That is a difficult question because the results are not immediately obvious.

Culture has the same propensity

Most people see diversity to be an advantage. No person and no culture holds all the truths. Exposure to other cultures refines our own beliefs. Some people think it makes the case that theirs is the best. Others think it proves that any particular culture has correctible defects and they can be repaired by adding aspects visible in some other culture.

Cultures change. In Europe, or North America, or China, or Africa, does the current culture seem the same as it was a century ago. I doubt someone from 1921 would recognize 2021. The harder question, would they see the value in the changes? Some aspects would seem wrong. Family breakdown. Tax rates. Government regulation.  Lawlessness and too many laws. Disingenuous politicians. Others would be good, once understood. I would enjoy explaining the internet to my grandfather. Movies on demand. Podcasts. A thousand TV stations. Better and more varied and relatively cheaper food. Automation. Computers. Others would be less clear. Smaller families. Reduced religious influence. Commuting. It’s hard to evaluate change while in the midst of it.

Ask yourself a question, would have it been different in Rome in year 50 CE compared to 50 BC. I would be surprised if it was so very different. How did they relate to change?

Change becomes the focus and people miss some of the useful changes that occur almost without notice. Change is difficult and people seldom try to assess the value of it before rejecting it. The first thing they reject is diversity. We should be careful with that.

There are situations where cultural change is denied. Japan being one. We should take a look at how that is going. I cannot see, given the internet, how it is possible to sustain that position. China works at it too. The Great Fire Wall is the method for now.

Anticipating the future

In business “synergy” is a common thought. Combining things leads to a result greater than the sum of the parts.

Why would we expect it to be different in cultural situations? We should not. Mixing ideas is an advantage. The offspring of the ideas is bigger, stronger, and more versatile ideas.

You might notice that synergy and syncretism are derived from a similar Greek root meaning “together”

Now, change is everywhere. Also conflicting ideas and anger. Division dominates for now. Can that continue?

If we assume that “together” creates better value for society, why would we not expect it to reappear? That would be In homage to the rule of life that asserts things that don’t work don’t last. The sooner we start to find commonality the better for all of us.

Find a way to see the point with someone who holds a different idea than you do. It might be better. It all begins locally.


I help people have more retirement income and larger, more liquid estates.

Call in Canada 705-927-4770, or email don@moneyfyi.com 

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