Wednesday, August 1, 2012



How does one, then, “create” a culture?

One doesn’t, I suppose; rather, many like-minded, like-spirited people do—by concurring in their values, assumptions, beliefs, practices, customs and mores.

The first challenge for creating a wiser culture, though, is to envision better behaviors for human beings to exhibit, alone and together, behaviors that contribute to the most desirable ends we aim to achieve, expressing the values we exalt, such as these:

•    Honoring the essential dignity of fellow human beings (unless their own undignified behaviors forfeit their innate esteem)

•    Honoring the well-being of the animate world—the biosphere—within which our species has evolved, the supportive matrix of our own flourishing, yet inherently precious with or without our presence.

•    Developing the potentialities of human intelligence and capability as fully as possible, both individually and collectively.  We are an evolving, emerging species— still in our collective adolescence, some would say, not yet mature in both wisdom and deed.

Therefore, one may contribute to creating a wise global culture by learning and practicing humane and intelligent behaviors with respect to all living beings. 

The chief motive for doing so is the awe and wonder one may feel in realizing how marvelous the Cosmos is that has brought us and all else into being.  Hallelujah!

A foolish global culture—the one we find ourselves mired in—produces not wonder but woe.


The task is to become wise—despite present difficulties—and try to build a culture in which wisdom will not only be possible but will be the norm, normal.  The world is what it is.  Considering everything that has gone before, it couldn’t be any different.  So there is no point regretting or recriminating.  But there is a lot of point in making the next moment better—and the next and the next.  Our culture may be slow to change, but our culture is not our enemy.  Our culture is, in fact, a direct reflection of us— at least the us of yesterday.  We must help our culture grow and mature, help it mirror the wisdom-seeking us of today and tomorrow.

—Copthorne Macdonald, Toward Wisdom, p. 130