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Essays on Folk Culture


Morality, Nature and the Triumph of Individual Will



The way of Folk Culture is a unique, civilized way of living, because it is based on a human ideal and because this ideal itself is noble and evolutionary.

The morality of Folk Culture - the standards of behaviour which individuals in such a culture strive to uphold - derives from the human ideal of personal honour. An honourable individual strives for excellence, as they strive to be noble, for honour is the natural and healthy instinct for nobility and excellence made conscious through a code of personal conduct. This striving - implicit in personal honour - means a self-discipline, the pursuit of a noble aim or an ideal. For us, as civilized human beings, what is good is what is honourable and noble; what is bad or wrong is what is dishonourable and ignoble. The morality of Folk Culture is thus based upon personal character, as the application of that morality, by individuals in their everyday lives, leads to the creation - or can lead to the creation - of noble mature individuals possessed of individual character.

Furthermore, personal honour, and a striving for excellence, mean an acceptance, by the individual, of the importance of will, or self-discipline. This will, this self-discipline, involves or is based on an aim, an ideal. Fundamentally, will - or self-discipline - means changing or transforming one's self by striving for an ideal based upon excellence of individual character; that is, based upon nobility. Thus, there is implicit in the concept of personal honour an acceptance, by the individual, that they can - and should - change themselves for the better through an act or acts of individual will.

In contrast, all other ways of living, all other philosophies or religions, base their morality on a non-human abstraction - on what undermines or destroys individual, noble, character. Instead of an ideal, based on the best, most honourable or most excellent individual - as in Folk Culture - there is an abstract morality based either upon a "god-given" (or prophet-given) theological dogma, "sin" or upon communal "guilt" or "taboo". Folk Culture implies an upward evolution of personal character based upon an individual using their will to change themselves through pursuing a noble ideal, with this noble ideal representing the reality of Nature and the higher living which is culture.
 

Conventional moralities are restrictive, with individuals who follow them - or who try to follow them - primarily concerned with avoiding what is considered sinful, "perverse", taboo or "unlawful". A further consequence of such moralities is that they are dogmatic - based upon edicts, commandments or laws, god-given or given by some prophet, with these edicts, commandments or laws having to be "interpreted" by some usually religious authority or Church.

In addition, the "commandments", edicts or laws upon which conventional moralities are derived from, are almost invariably contrary to the facts, or reality, of Nature - to what does exist, and to what might or should exist without such an artificial morality. In effect, conventional moralities are not based upon - or do not reflect - the reality and the truths of Nature, life or a healthy, evolving individual existence. Folk Culture, however, is unique in being based upon - and in reflecting - the reality and truths of Nature, life and healthy, evolving individual existence.
 

This is so because the basis of Folk Culture is the knowledge that we, as human beings, have evolved slowly, over periods of time, from barbarians into civilized beings who reason, who can be honourable, fair, just and decent, and who create culture and civilizations. Furthermore, Folk Culture accepts that this slow evolution is not complete - we can evolve further, into higher, more cultured, more civilized, beings. To do this, we need to use our will and follow a human ideal.
 

Conventional religions and 'ways of life' accept as their basis that the right way - the truths about life - have all been revealed to us by some prophet, teacher or sage, and all we have to do is follow these revelations and teachings. That is, our human life, and nature, are interpreted and approached through these abstract revelations and teachings. In contrast, Folk Culture insists we are still working our way, slowly, toward understanding and the right way, and that this understanding and knowledge of the right way, the right path, depends upon us viewing and accepting Nature as Nature is, and we ourselves as part of Nature.
 

The consequence of conventional morality is the production, or creation, of individuals - and societies - who are distanced from Nature and the truths of existence, and who seek to control Nature, and individuals, in an unhealthy, abstract way. The result is generally the production of individuals obsessed with sin, "normality" or abstract, dogmatic, often political, ideas, and the destruction, or undermining, of individual character, excellence and nobility. In brief, the production of a rather characterless "mass individual" pursuing abstract or meaningless goals, and the production of a society detrimental to Nature and the evolution, or advancement, of the individuals within it.
 

An example will illustrate these things. Consider Christianity. One of the fundamental tenets of this religion - and thus of its morality - is the inherent "sinfulness" of individuals. Christianity considers, for instance, that "the imagination of a man's heart is evil from his youth" [ Genesis 8:21 ]. The result is to focus on sinners and those who are 'saved' by repenting - that is, there is an abstract division into those who are chosen, or belong (to the Church or whatever) and those who do not belong. Another tenet is that we are masters of Nature - and the life within it: that Nature is here for our benefit and that we are somehow above or beyond Nature because of the life and death of Christ.
 

The result of these, and similar, abstract ideas is the desire to create a society where the natural excellence of individual character, the natural and healthy striving for an ennobling ideal, and the natural desire to respect and be in awe of Nature no longer exist. In this society, life is governed not by the rhythm and patterns of Nature - not by slowly evolved natural human ideals such as honour - but by abstract commandments given by God, by the examples of saints, by the schism between believers and non-believers and a host of other such things. The whole focus is different - in essence, the time of Nature, of our slowly evolving lives, cultures, and evolution, is done away with in favour of an abstract time created through an artificial revelation or belief: through an idea.
 

The truth here is that real wisdom, real development of personal character - and cultural evolution itself - derives from the slowly passing time of Nature. A conventional religion like Christianity imposes its own time upon us - its 'wisdom' is that of an abstract idea or a revelation.
 

So it is that such a religion, its morality, and the individuals who uphold such a morality, are in conflict with, and opposed to, their own innate healthy nature, and Nature herself. They are trying to or desire to do away with their own "sinful" nature, as they are trying to or desire to do away with the reality of Nature manifest in our slow and still incomplete evolution, and in our evolution of separate cultures. Such adherents of such a morality believe they are right, and so many of them become intolerant, believing as they do that God is on their side and that perfection, in society, can be achieved if others follow God's law.
 
 
 

This abstract religious approach - the belief that perfection has already been ordained or discovered by some prophet, some teacher, some philosopher or some 'enlightened' person - has led to the modern abstract political approach. This is the belief that human perfection (and such abstract concepts as human happiness) is attainable, now or in the near future, and that a perfect, or much better, society can indeed by created.
 

People are thus categorized by what they believe - their religious or political views - with their being a messianic type of belief that our way, our political Party, is right. There is thus the desire to create a perfect society based upon these views, with this creation requiring struggle, and possibly revolution and war. The immediate suffering caused by this struggle is regarded as acceptable and indeed necessary to create the perfect or better society. Inevitably, in this struggle, humanity - honour, fairness, freedom, true justice - are forgotten or lost sight of. There are laws, created by law-givers, and enforced by others, with people punished and held captive. There is, in short, a culture of repression and inhumanity where abstract laws, and abstract notions such as "the good of society" or "the public interest" come before personal honour and the respect all human beings are due because they are human.
 

The people who make the laws, who enforce them, who punish or hold others captive in prisons or elsewhere, often believe they are doing what is "right" and "necessary" - but they believe this either because of some religious belief, or some political belief. That is, because they treat individuals not as those individuals are - individual human beings like themselves - but either on the basis of what those individuals believe, politically or religiously, or on the basis that those individuals have transgressed some abstract law made "for the good of our society" or in "the public interest" or because "it is God's law".
 
 
 

In contrast to such abstract, unnatural, and ultimately de-humanizing ideas, Folk Culture accepts the reality of our incomplete evolution, as it accepts the importance and naturalness of individual character and thus of individual honour. That is, it accepts that all individuals have the natural right to defend their own honour in a practical way. It further and importantly accepts: (1) that most individuals are natural and good by nature, and require only good honourable leadership, or guidance, for that innate goodness to become manifest; and (2) individuals have the capacity to evolve, or develop themselves further and should always be given the chance, the freedom, to do this.
 

Fundamentally, and most importantly, Folk Culture maintains that most individuals can change themselves for the better by an act of will. That is, Folk Culture maintains most individuals have the innate capacity, the potential, to so change or develop themselves. All that most of them lack is the will to so change - and a noble aim, or a noble ideal, to harness that will to. Folk Culture provides such an ideal, such an aim, enabling this change for the better to be achieved. Individuals so change themselves when they strive to be honourable, and when they strive to do their duty to their culture and thus to Nature herself.
 


Technology and Folk Culture




Technology - and the science on which it is based - is one of the most important creations of our present human civilization.

However, over the last hundred years or so technology has been used to simply provide self-indulgence, comfort, profits, and entertainment and to implement, or try to implement, the abstract doctrines of political "social engineers" - that is, of those who seek to create a perfect type of political society. That is, technology has been manifestly harnessed in a material way to produce and maintain a materialistic "consumer" and industrial society with individuals, cultures and Nature herself used in a profit-driven capitalistic way. In effect, the social engineers, their lackeys and the adherents of their abstract, unnatural, doctrines, have tried, through industry and technology, to harness both Nature and individuals in the service of such abstract and unnatural doctrines. As a consequence, great damage has been done to Nature, individual character and to the cultures which Nature has laboured to create.

Instead of liberating the individual, and the cultures of this Earth, and being used to elevate or improve these cultures, and possibly create new cultures - and thus continue the upward progress of evolution - technology has created a societies of consumer dependency and State-control, with individuals living artificial lives. The natural balance between the individual, their folk-community, their homeland, their culture, and Nature herself, has been totally lost. As a result, the majority of individuals seldom if ever develop any real character because the things which can create or contribute to such character are avoided, done-away with or simply no longer exist in the technological, consumer-driven, self-indulgent society which has been created. In many countries, urban sprawl has developed, industrial development has continued, driven by profits and materialism, and the use of technology has not been governed by any moral guidelines based on civilized, human values.
 

The consequence of all this has been the creation of generation after generation of individuals who possess no real sense of belonging, no real culture, who have never experienced or felt the primal wonder and awe and danger of Nature, and who have no conscious or even innate understanding of the importance of the natural creations of Nature such as culture. In brief, the majority of people today are distanced from the reality of Nature, and the culture of their ancestors. Such people are thus easy to control - easily diverted, easily entertained, easily manipulated. An increasingly urbanized "mass-produced" individual has been created - lost to their native, or natural culture, and virtually lost to evolution. The whole purpose of the present Western-orientated, so-called 'democratic', consumer society is to produce such basically culture-less individuals devoid of any understanding of Nature, and devoid of any real knowledge of the working of Nature as evident in culture and individual character.
 

Thus, and for example, the modern denizen of the urbanized - or even the rural - society of the present West has no practical experience of the natural rhythm of the seasons, as they have little or no experience of the harshness, the splendour and the awe of Nature. There is no real sense of belonging - no participation in the natural, slow, change of a particular landscape or place; no slow development of wisdom. Travel, for such denizens, is relatively easy, whatever the weather - cocooned as such denizens are in their fast, heated, automobiles, or in trains or buses. The darkness of night can be done away with by electric lights; the silence of Nature is destroyed by traffic, by urban living, by the music and the sounds pouring easily from radios, televisions and such like. Even the "great outdoors" is increasingly made safe and tamed - with "country walks" (usually reached by motor vehicle, bus or train); with "safety equipment"; with rules and regulations, and "instructors" and "courses" easily available. Individuals have to be "guided", trained by a "qualified instructor" or have the latest "equipment". Risks are reduced, or done away - particularly for children or young adults. One result of all this has been the birth of "adventure" training and the spread of the "Western tourist" seeking pleasurable and challenging experiences in foreign lands - although the challenging experiences, of course, have to be reasonably safe, with such tourists or "adventurers" led by qualified guides or instructors, and so on.

A classic instance of the mis-use of technology - and the detrimental effects of such dishonourable use - occurs in the motor vehicle, or automobile. This seemed to promise individual freedom, and many other things. But the result of the uncontrolled, self-indulgent, use of such technology has been the destruction of Nature, the loss of community, and the further distancing of the individual from the realness of Nature and life itself. Quite apart from the pollution caused by such vehicles, modern life is now totally dominated by this technological invention, with the natural slow, walking, rhythm and the natural and necessary quietness of life destroyed, with roads and their vehicles dominating over both people and Nature. The unrestricted use of this invention has led to the destruction of both urban and rural communities - since it is easy to "commute" by car to work, or wherever, with little or no necessity to live within walking distance of work or relatives, and with no real need to stay in one's ancestral area or community. Furthermore, the personal ease of travel so made possible by this invention has destroyed real travelling where the traveller was in intimate contact with the landscape passed through, and the local characters encountered. One of the consequences of such easy travel has been the breakdown of that rural isolation and self-sufficiency which aided communal spirit. Little or no thought was given or is being given to the destruction of the quality of life caused by this invention. In brief, an awareness and understanding of Nature, homeland and culture has been lost, with the harmony of a natural balance destroyed.

In contrast, Folk Culture seeks to harness and direct technology to elevate or improve individuals in a natural, balanced, slow way. That is, it seeks to use technology to further the evolution of the individual and culture, as it seeks to create a balanced, cultured and human society where Nature is respected. This is so because quite simply Folk Culture is a conscious and rational expression of the ethos of civilization, of what makes us human. For Folk Culture is based on a conscious and rational understanding of Nature, what is necessary to enhance Nature, and on a conscious and rational understanding of what civilization, science and technology are and can be in the service of our humanity. Indeed, only Folk Culture expresses, in a conscious and rational way, the essence of what it is to be human - this essence being expressed in culture, in individual honour, in excellence of individual character and in that desire to know, explore and understand which is uniquely human

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Because of this rational and conscious understanding, Folk Culture can create a harmonious society and thus restore the natural balance between the individual and Nature. In effect, such a Folk Culture is based upon the laws or processes of Nature, as it seeks to elevate or develop the individuals in society in accord with these natural laws. The whole structure of the society - from the type of State, to its Institutions, its industry, commerce and its economy - is for Folk Culture simply a means to create and maintain the harmonious balance which is necessary to ensure such a human evolution in accord with Nature.
 

That is, Folk Culture is practical and realistic, seeing the State - and such things as its economy - as simply a means, as tools to be created, shaped and used for a specific, human, end. The specific end, the goal, of such a State is the continued health, welfare and advancement of the cultured individuals of that State. A Folk Culture is thus a society where change and development are planned and controlled in accordance with definite moral, human, guidelines. That is, such a society has a definite purpose, a definite aim, with the individuals of that society, and all the structures of that society, cooperating together to strive to achieve that aim. The aim itself is a moral, or human one - the health, well-being and advancement of the people of that society in a natural, civilized, honourable way. Expressed in individual terms, the pursuit of noble, human, honourable ideals comes before self-interest and before profits.

In the same way, the creations or inventions of technology must serve the interest of the people. A Folk Culture would give a high priority to producing individuals of noble character who possessed an awareness of their duties and responsibilities and who could accept responsibility and make wise decisions based on the wisdom they had acquired. It is such mature, insightful, honourable individuals who can govern the society, who can plan and control the development and change necessary in society, and who can create and maintain that natural balance between Nature and human society which is necessary for a healthy, expanding, evolving way of life and which enables us to creatively participate in evolution and Nature in accord with the laws of Nature.

Such a creative participation is our unique Destiny, as human beings, and only Folk Culture understands and expresses, in a practical way, what this Destiny is and how it can be achieved. Because of this, Folk Culture is of vital importance for our survival as rational, thinking, civilized, beings. Indeed, only Folk Culture can ensure the survival and advancement of those things which make us, and keep us, human - culture, excellence of individual character, honour and the desire to know, understand and explore.