Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Culture and Civilization

I just read a great article by Alice Von Hildebrand (http://catholicexchange.com/civilization-and-culture-at-war/  It highlights exactly the problem that we have today with the difference between civilization and culture. Civilization is basically the compilation of technological achievements which springs from man's own genius and intellect. Culture is something more subtle, mysterious, and organic. It can't be made, but rather is born. This is why intentional communities always have problems. They essentially seek to create culture through their own efforts, but culture is something that springs from other things.

This organic growth of culture can be seen in the old days when people gathered to raise a barn. This was not merely a community gathering, but rather it was a manifestation and building of community and thus culture. Without community we cannot see a real growth of culture because community nurtures culture. We can see a small manifestation of real Catholic culture in the properly ordered Catholic home, and children from these homes often grow up to be faithful and devout Catholics. However, my experience is that young Catholics today desire other like-minded families as neighbors. Those of us who went to faithful Catholic colleges experienced some of this culture and community, and the longing to find it again never leaves. I believe this desire is even stronger for those who share the desire to be on the land. The desire for an organic and natural life not hindered by the restraints and barbarities of modern life brings forth a desire to share this life with others.

Our civilization has in many ways directly destroyed culture. Technology has become the replacement for human interaction. Televisions, computers, and mass-produced music have replaced the barn raisings and community gatherings of yesterday. A group of like-minded people living in the same area could again replace this technology with these natural gatherings. Nothing would be forced, but the opportunity for growth together would exist and be heightened by the proximity of the others. Deliberately lessening of technologies could open up new spheres of community and culture, and the grouping of families could open up new realities of shared faith and fellowship. It is my hope to someday be living in the midst of many other like-minded Catholics on the land. I hope that we can create a new culture within the shell of the other where it is easier to be good. It is my hope. Now if God will open the doors.



Annie said...

I see this happening within the home schooling movement as well. Families, otherwise living and working in the world, come together as a community and create a culture within the greater surrounding community. These families tend to be stronger and larger and more faith-filled.

Anonymous said...

Again, and I hate to be redundant, but we have so, so much to learn from the Amish.

I would love to be able to afford to go back to the land, however, I am not so sure that is even necessary...at least as a begining. We need to build (or re-build) christian community. Our communities, schools and businesses are being over-run by non-Christ based religions, new age religions, wicca or

We must be strong, but how strong can we be and how strong can our children be, if we are surrounded by others who believe that what we hold as wrong/immoral or “not in faith” as everyday entertainment or worse, a lifestyle.

The Amish figured this out a long time ago...insulate their community to the best of their ability and encourage only like-minded christian individuals to become part of their communities.

All the Amish put Jesus Christ the Son of God first in all that they do and build around that faith. It seems to be working for them.

Kevin Ford said...

While I have a great admiration for the good aspects of the Amish. I am not blind to their many problems as well. There are few groups that have split as often as the Amish. Their lack of authentic authority has led them to split for reasons from buttons to beard length. They do have a good process however for looking at and judging technology in accord with what is good for the family, community, and the common good. We moderns seem to judge everything on what is good for me, but the Amish see it as what is good for the family and community. If we all implemented this the world would be a much better place.


Anonymous said...


Definitely related.




Robert said...

I just watched a documentary called " The Jewish people a story of survival" also one on the shakers . good insite. I lived in a messianic community for 5 years and loved the culture. but leader ship began to micro manage every ones spirituality and people left in droves.
God has a culture for us and its worth pursuing.