So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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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.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.