Countries that prize deep-rooted tradition above change may invoke a certain amount of mystique in the eyes of others, but they do so at the expense of their future.
Tradition features prominent in the world. It governs much of the do’s and don’t’s of everyday life, preserving aspects of it that are valuable.
It also traps people in outdated modes of operation and surpassed ways of thinking. The comfort these aging setups provide is no match for progress and can be stifling. Their staunch adherents can do nothing over time than fall behind in the world’s never-ending journey for a more informed, responsible way of being.
Take the people in Pompeii, Babylon, and Angkor Wat, for example. Steeped in tradition as they were, they did what they did, and were proud of it.
Fast forward a couple of thousands of years to today and compare their state of being with the current one.
See how irrelevant these cultures are, as things stand? They may be alluring, offering great insight on humanity’s past, but they matter not one iota in present terms.
If you don’t see how this is relevant, fast forward to another two thousand years from today and imagine what the future will be like. Whatever it is, our present-day traditions will be as irrelevant to tomorrow as Babylon’s are to us today.
But not everything is lost. Babylon may be dead but Pompeii is still alive, sort of, through the Roman principles that have endured to this day. There’s a way to extend one’s present to the future after all, and that is to belong to traditions that evolve into something that withstands the test of time.
In other words, during our relentlessly competitive pursuit for knowledge and immortality, the question is: do we live forever by becoming a museum-worthy relic, or do we live on by surviving and flourishing, passing on aspects of our culture to the next generations, living on through them?
Time for constructive reflection.
PS – Where do you place yourself in the formula? What about the country you live in, or the nation you belong to? Where do they stand in the grand scheme of things? Do they represent what you believe in? Will your country or culture be relevant in the future? Or is it on its way to becoming an exhibit, if not a relic, about which the people of the future will be exchanging cautionary tales?