Quote Originally Posted by Kullervo View Post
It isn't so much changing values (abstractions) that concern me, but the destruction of concrete, physical things that can't be recreated later. I acknowledge the fluidity of ideas and don't believe the way people lived in the past is necessarily better than the way we do now. We should always encourage innovation.

Nonetheless, I see preserving ethnicity itself as no different to looking after a monument of cultural significance. It is your responsibility to future generations of people. I actually place the former higher, because while palaces can be rebuilt, a people once destroyed cannot be reborn.

I know.

There is a depth to this which I will, understandably I think, not be able to get into in this particular thread, its difficult to sum up the bredth and depth of the topic but much of the discussion of idolatry in world traditions I see as being reflective of a conscious and unconscious desire to reject or overcome alienation, ie you are not meant to take human attributes, ideals, hopes, wishes etc. etc. and transfer them from human experience, human beings, humankind on to monuments, carved idols or even create pantheons of imagined or fantastic deities and icons.

I think that this is all very good. It simultaneously acknowledges the importance of these things to human beings, to a single life time, to eternity, from the individual person to the great mass of beings and also sounds a note of caution about how much of a bad thing the alienating of these things into dead monuments etc. (even some sorts of religious traditions) can be.

However, I think you just described, probably unintentionally, the converse view, the ideas dont matter so much as the artwork or icons they produce, which ought to be preserved for posterity.

I would give innovation its place, I'm not a member of the amish community, I dont embrace that sort of radical traditionalism, nor that sort of radical conservatism but equally I am a retro gamer for instance so I personally believe that not everything new and novel is going to appeal universally nor should it be expected to. Its bizarre to me that the explanation needs to be made and how often I find that I'm making it but if you think about it tradition is simply memory, its ancestoral or cultural memory, memory is just experience and (hopefully the knowledge built up upon that). Why anyone would wish to dispense with that so readily or see it as worthless in comparison to novel innovation in the way which is commonplace is totally beyond me. At the very least its foolhardy, at the very worst its like some kind of disorder. If you met someone who was attempting to induce amnesia in the way that most of those seemingly harmless encouraging innovation are on a social scale it would give you pause for thought. Movies like Momento and Fifty First Dates do not make the case for that being a happy existence, not for an individual and surely not on a social scale.

So I dont believe that what you describe as abstraction could be safely and easily dispensed with and recalled at a later date if it all proves to be lost accidentially or deliberately and later discovered to be important anyway. Knowledge, including that embodied in social institutions, shouldnt be treated as being as easily dispensed with as all that and I certainly dont think that material monuments mater more to posterity than the ideas embodied in social conventions or traditions. Once its gone, its gone.

I honestly believe that future generations may look upon ours as having been privileged to have been one of the last to have grown up with cultural norms which they never valued and too easily relinquished and dispensed with in the best possible intention but for the worst possible outcome.