Thursday, 24 November 2011


Yesterday on a train I overheard a conversation of two women about preserving the cultures of African tribes and ethnic minorities in South America. They were talking about traditional clothing, rituals and songs.

I never really thought about it, but yesterday this idea suddenly struck me. What if by helping them to preserve their culture we actually prevent them from developing? The reason that we don’t walk around in wooden shoes and dance around fire is that we’ve moved on. We have better shoes and nicer places to dance. We’ve got a lot of other stuff too. And we are proud of it.

The next thought that occurred to me was even more peculiar. If a country is trying to revive already vanished traditional culture (costumes, music, cuisine) isn’t it making steps backwards? May that holding onto the ‘traditional values’ be at least part of the reason why a country does not develop to its full potential?

What do you think, is this song a sign of progress or is it clinging to the past and resisting progress?
Ivan Kupala - Kostroma


  1. Cultuur wordt gezien als een soort ecosysteem: diversiteit is goed, is de aanname.
    En de notie dat 'vooruitgang' een nogal discutabel begrip is. 'Voortgang' lijkt veel meer op z'n plek.

    Maar hier kan je een boek over volschrijven.

  2. I really like the definition of culture as ecosystem. Thank you, somebody maarten.


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