Culture is an important
resource that must be used by those seeking to develop their
community in the most beneficial and appropriate way. There
is a vital link between the cohesion and strength of a community’s
direction and the authenticity of its cultural resources.
Culture is a stable mix of such fundamental elements as language,
education, tradition, and art, all of which form a community’s
structure and lifestyle. It is a kind of blindness to ignore
the reality that these fundamental elements have (and ought
to have) unique features, and different characters and temperaments,
for they reflect the people to whom they belong. A community
that has broken with its essential cultural values inevitably
loses its identity and collapses as a distinct society.
The existence of distinct and unique cultures does not mean
that there can (or should) not be no intercultural exchanges
of ideas and people. Rather, it means that each culture should
demand a “visa” from a foreign cultural element seeking entrance.
Its right of entry should be questioned and granted only after
prudent consideration of what effect it might have upon the
indigenous culture. Foreign elements should be “distilled”
before being absorbed into the indigenous culture. Otherwise,
a cultural and civilizational crisis will occur.
A distinctive culture evolves in the crucible of true religion,
high morality and virtues, and well-digested knowledge. Where
religion and morality are opposed and rejected, and ignorance
is widespread, a high culture cannot be formed.
People who seek their own continuance or survival by blindly
accepting the culture and civilization of others are like
trees upon whose branches are hung the fruits of other trees.
They deceive not only themselves, but also lay themselves
open to ridicule.
Cultural values have the same meaning and worth for a people
as blossoms and fruits have for a tree. A community that has
failed to produce a distinctive culture, or has lost or forsaken
it, may be likened to a barren tree or to one whose fruit
has dropped off. Today or tomorrow, that tree will be cut
down and used as wood.