This quote from Dutch essayist, writer and poet Cees Nooteboom, just published in Le Monde this weekend, is an interesting point of view on culture and agri- (or horti-) culture:

“One can define culture, by analogy with agriculture, as something that has grown slowly. Or, in looking at the results, as something that has grown in a certain way–and not in another.”

Which begs the eternal question: How much can one influence (horti-)culture and how much is the result of natural evolution? Nooteboom points out that, in matters of culture, in the West we are becoming estranged from the elements that form its basis. “From Greek mythology to the Bible, we are unaware of the great stories that form the raw material of art and occidental culture. At the same time, globalization confronts us with civilizations and works whose meanings elude us. Doubly disoriented, we are on the way to no longer understanding the works of the past and of the present.”

Much is being done to bring back old fashioned flowers and heirloom vegetables, to educate the public on consuming real, organic and locally-produced food, all the while spicing it up with influences from around the globe. Perhaps the same process needs to be applied to culture, with classes in local and world civilizations and religions, to allow people to access the past and better understand, accept and enjoy the cultural evolutions of the present…



~ by lisacwhite on April 3, 2009.

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