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Monday, October 13, 2014

Cultural Best Practice

Human culture is a wondrous thing. Physical evolution is a slow process. Culture can affect the human condition much more quickly.

The business world has the concept of “Best Practice.” It's finding the best way of doing something and sticking with it. Similar concepts are used in other fields of endeavor.

Humans are pretty much stuck in whatever culture they are born into. Sure, there are those who transition from between cultures, usually through emigration. Even emigration may only provide relatively minor cultural tweaks. Living in New Zealand is really only marginally different than living in the United States. (Yes, there are differences, but you don't suddenly find yourself sacrificing virgins to the volcano god.)

So I got to thinking, some cultural practices are more useful than others. Would it be possible to compile a list of cultural Best Practices? Could one write a list of everything that works best for people and combine it into a practical framework? Is it possible to build a best practices culture from the ground up?

This isn't a Utopia. Usually Utopian experiments make some wildly wrong assumptions. Best Practices are things that are shown to work, and work better than everything else.

What a wild experiment that would be! We could take the best of thousands of years of cultural trial and error and synthesize a new and very useful culture.

The problem, of course, is all the vested interests in current cultures. No matter how dysfunctional a cultural practice is, there's probably someone in power benefiting from it. That doesn't mean the project does not have merit. A lot of culture can be changed on the individual and small group level. Successful strategies for living would attract more people -especially in areas where Cultural Best Practices are significantly better than those of the dominate culture.

Here's a chance for all those Social Science majors to demonstrate how good their degrees are. We should be able to cobble together a basic framework in 30 days and a practical program in under 6 months.

The Powers That Be only have to worry a little bit. A tiny fraction of people will initially change from what's old and comfortable to what's best. Then again, if enough people begin to live really well it gets harder and harder to defend bad ways of living.



  1. What a day Sixbears.
    I've been out sacrificing virgins to the Volcano Gods.
    It's just a silly little thing we do in New Zealand on every second Monday of the month...

    1. Now that's a good idea we could use here! Only we would gladly sacrifice our politicians!

    2. Politicians are much easier to find than virgins and no one will shed a tear.

    3. Ack! No! The idea is to appease the Volcano Gods, not make them angrier.....

  2. Hey Sixbears - have you seen the ads for the tv show "Utopia"? 15 or so folks of diverse backgrounds are put together in a fertile settling for a year and supposed to set up a society however they see fit. So far, they seem to be fighting a lot, and some doing all the work for those who just lounge about. Some experiment, though.....

    1. Utopia have a long and interesting history. Darn few are still around today.

      Don't watch much TV so I haven't seen the ads.

  3. Maybe The Flying Tortoise has the right idea, only let's keep the virgins (they are getting scares) and use Chickenmom's idea to substitute politicians. Sounds like a plan to me.

    1. Around here they say a virgin is a 12 year old girl who can outrun her brothers . . .

      Yeah, politicians. Definitely.

  4. One of the first concepts comes from George Carlin, "Keep thy religion to thyself.'

  5. Socializing new members has to be a priority, so let's start with the kids.

    How about raising children in contact with nature, something akin to the erdkinder method in Montessori (though not nec. the same)?

    Second, keep the Socratic Method.

    Third, ensure teachers range in age, gender, and skills. Perhaps even involved all adults in the process in some fashion.

    Keep communities at, or not far above, the Dunbar Number. Create modular concept of settlement pattern and interaction, somewhat self-contained neighborhoods, for example, if numbers grow too large-- emphasis on Social Geography.

    Are we in agreement thus far?

    1. Darn good starting point. Certainly "good" practices at least.

  6. of all things for any socail group to survive is somebody has to be the boss otherwise the clowns, jokers, idiots, and others will squabble apart into toal dysfunction

    being a boss is a pain in ones rear sometimes

    and so it goes...