Culture

1. Culture is an important resource that must be used by those seeking to develop their community in the most beneficial and appropriate way. There is a vital link between the cohesion and strength of a community's direction and the authenticity of its cultural resources.

2. Culture is a stable mix of such fundamental elements as language, education, tradition, and art, all of which form a community's structure and lifestyle. It is a kind of blindness to ignore the reality that these fundamental elements have (and ought to have) unique features, and different characters and temperaments, for they reflect the people to whom they belong. A community that has broken with its essential cultural values inevitably loses its identity and collapses as a distinct society.

3. The existence of distinct and unique cultures does not mean that there can (or should) not be any intercultural exchanges of ideas and people. Rather, it means that each culture should demand a "visa" from a foreign cultural element seeking entrance. Its right of entry should be questioned and granted only after prudent consideration of what effect it might have upon the indigenous culture. Foreign elements should be "distilled" before being absorbed into the indigenous culture. Otherwise, a cultural and civilizational crisis will occur.

4. A distinctive culture evolves in the crucible of true religion, high morality and virtues, and well-digested knowledge. Where religion and morality are opposed and rejected, and ignorance is widespread, a high culture cannot be formed.

5. People who seek their own continuance or survival by blindly accepting the culture and civilization of others are like trees upon whose branches are hung the fruits of other trees. They deceive not only themselves, but also lay themselves open to ridicule.

6. Cultural values have the same meaning and worth for a people as blossoms and fruits have for a tree. A community that has failed to produce a distinctive culture, or has lost or forsaken it, may be likened to a barren tree or to one whose fruit has dropped off. Today or tomorrow, that tree will be cut down and used as wood. Criteria or Lights of the Way, Izmir, 1998, Vol. 2, (12th edition), pp. 45-48

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