Before you read any further, kindly reflect for one minute on the title of this piece. Ask yourself the question “have the cultural practices where you reside produced an ethical society?” Then answer the question.
Once that is done but before you read any further reflect for one additional minute on the follow-up questions above which are “can and should they?” In short “can and should” the present cultural practices where you reside produce an ethical society? Now answer that question.
If the answer to both questions is yes please share in the comment section below where you reside. I’m sure that there are many readers who would like to relocate there. However, if your answer is no to both questions, then I have one final question for you to consider at the end of this blog.
What is Culture and its Purpose?
According to the American Heritage Dictionary the word culture is defined as “the totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.”
The purpose of culture according to the book “African Origins of Civilization, Religion, Yoga Mystical Spirituality and Ethics Philosophy” by Dr. Muata Ashby is three-fold:
-Culture is a people’s window on whatever they perceive as reality (to understand the world around them) and their concept of self.
-Culture is a conditioning process, necessary for the early development of a human being.
-Culture defines the agenda of a society (government, economics, religion). Religion is the most powerful force driving culture.
The Relationship between Cultural Practices and an Ethical Society
As culture is the transmission of behavior patterns, it stands to reason that those patterns of behavior cause certain results. Consequently, the present state of any society is the direct result of the behavior patterns practiced by its citizens. The present state is not a happenstance occurrence or coincidence. It is based upon the ancient law of cause and effect. For a variety of reasons few realize or choose to accept this reality. Where one finds an ethical society, one will find patterns of behavior of its citizens that cause this desired effect. Where one finds a society that is not ethical, one will surely find patterns of behavior accepted as real and true which cause/produce an unethical society/effect.
As the tragic deaths of African American males and recent death of a White female at the hands of the police slowly fade away from the mental landscape of many, reflections on the notions of racism and its manifestations spawned from these incidents are in order. Discussions of race and how to overcome racism permeate the airwaves when incidents like this arise. One question seldom heard in these conversations is this. Can racism exist in an ethical society? It seems reasonable to suggest that a society that desires to be ethical would not act in accordance with behavior patterns that leads its citizens to an understanding about the world and their concept of self in ways that produce unethical results. Even when those cultural practices are considered to be “who we are as a people.”
If Cultural Practices don’t create an Ethical Society should they be followed?
This is the question I indicated at the beginning of this blog that you should consider if you answered no to both questions above. What is gained by the continued ratification and following of cultural practices that don’t produce an ethical society? Most importantly what is lost?
Peace and Blessings!
*Join us in Egypt in July 2019!