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Culture is the final product of a long evolutionary ascent of human beings from primitive, physical struggle for individual survival to cooperative, refined, mentally-directed, mutually-beneficial relationship.
Civilized life matures as culture as long history ripens into civilization. Though culture is a very common conception, rarely do we think about how it came about. The physically strong man who is industrious lives in affluence. His strength naturally offers protection to those around, even when he does not exercise it.
- To be hospitable, to offer protection arises out of strength.
- One’s capacity goes to shape one’s behavior.
- He who works hard understands organization, the nature of life, its resistances, and resources. His superior knowledge gives him superlative comprehension.
- Mental clarity, wider comprehension tames his wild vital energies and the crude strength of his coarse body.
- Man is gregarious. His work with others gives him understanding of others. He rises to the occasion to meet their vital need of physical protection, help in work, etc.
- Man’s observation of life is continuous, though subconscious. It sometimes matures into conscious wisdom.
- Physical affluence, overflowing vital strength, strength of Mind, patience that is spiritual are some traits man acquires by his effort to live.
This is the process of man’s ascent, rising from the physical to the mental. Such a progress is substantial. The progress in the descent – from mind to the body – is of a greater value. Mind imposes order on the chaotic vital, tames the brute body into quiet. Body and vital learn more from the ideas of Mind than from their own experience. Also they must have enough experience in their own planes to benefit by the descending ideas from the Mind.
- Culture is generous goodness, absence of rigid discipline or controls, softness of existence and sweetness of behaviour.
- We talk of gymnastics as physical culture because these exercises give the body a better form, greater steadiness and a capacity for a refined living.
- Vital upbringing, and mental discipline are valuable in themselves. When Mind descends on the vital and the body, the vital goes down to the body, the chastening effect is greater.
Spiritual skills are values in life. When they are brought down to the lower planes, they energize the faculties of mind, vital and body. As the ascent prepares each level to rise to the next, this descent of higher values initiates a process of maturity in the mind, emotions, nerves and even the body.
Beyond these parts of being – mind, vital, body, spirit – there is the Being which makes Man the embodied being. Anything spills over the parts of the being only when that part is saturated. Then it descends on the next lower plane and is more ready to receive from the higher plane or planes. Patience, endurance, wisdom, magnanimity, hospitality, loyalty, integrity are symptoms of culture. Unselfish living of strong natures that have received constant external experience results in culture collecting in the depths of being. This is the essential culture far different from the cultural habits commonly referred to which are social behaviors pertaining to that society.
- Cultural sensitivity makes one a valuable human being.
- Culture is inclusive of physical health, vital wealth as well as mental enlightenment.
See also Aristocratic culture