The Toxicity of Culture

Culture (root word: cult) is toxic regardless of its content. At best a culture has kernels of truth and relates to objective reality. Even in this case, it is a terrible idea to teach it as you are teaching people what to think rather than how to think. Even if the culture contains some important virtues and good values – it is better for each individual to be able to arrive at these him or herself, rather than through a system of indoctrination by which they are not able to produce or even follow the reasoning underlying their conclusions. To truly understand the value of a virtue, one most arrive at its importance through reason and evidence, not through some fallacious argument from tradition.

At worst, culture has no relation to objective reality and is a morass of superstitious nonsense and bigoted prejudice, in which case teaching it is an even greater harm to a developing mind.

Fundamentally – if your idea is good, you do not need to brainwash your children into accepting it. Doing so not only destroys their reasoning faculties and the connection between cause and effect in their mind, but is also an admission that your ideas are actually corrupt and evil.

If you want a new generation of free, moral, and virtuous human beings, you must implode culture – erase it from your teachings. Stop teaching children what to think, and focus on teaching them how. Do it well, and they will arrive at all the important conclusions themselves, albeit of their own power of reasoning. Better yet, they may surprise you and challenge some of your own unjustified preconceptions.

And you can be sure that such critical thinking skills will leave them invulnerable to future falsehoods and manipulations that evil people may attempt to subject them to. Because they will not have been taught, by the example of their parents, to accept as truth the pronouncements of authority figures, they will instead freely question and think for themselves.


5 thoughts on “The Toxicity of Culture”

  1. The words ‘culture’ and ‘civilization’ have been often used synonymously, though they have clearly defined meanings differentiating them. ‘Civilization’ means the betterment of ways of living, making Nature bend to fulfill the needs of humankind. On the other hand ‘culture’ refers to the inner man, a refinement of head and heart.

    Looked at in this perspective, modern man may at once be called civilized, but not cultured, though cultural expressions in art, music and literature are there. But if culture in a deeper sense had penetrated the human psyche, the modern world would not have had to witness two world wars besides innumerable smaller ones. To add to this, whole communities have been wiped out in vast genocides. All this destruction cannot be called expressions of culture, though they are, to be sure, characteristics of modern civilization. More efficient methods of destruction do not take man far away from his animalism. If anything, they make him more brutish. Only such qualities which raise the human being from the animal level to the human level, and thence to the divine level could be called culture. From this point of view we may say that humankind will have to travel a long way before being culturally transformed.

    1. We’re just working with different definitions here, hence the disagreement. I think of culture as that set of irrational beliefs passed on from generation to generation. I understand that the word culture can also refer to music, literature, and art, though personally I would just call them all “art” in general.

      The cause of wars and genocides are not civilization (city living), but rather the existence of the State, and that itself is dependent on abusive raising of children. Children who are raised healthily are incapable of the kind of atrocities that we have witnessed over the past century. Only severely abused and psychologically damaged human beings can do this 🙁

  2. It may be overscrupulous, but stating that the root of ‘culture’ is ‘cult’ is misleading. A quick search lends itself to discovering that, likely, neither is the root for the other, but rather that it’s possible that they developed independently, each sharing common roots from the Latin ‘cultus’ and the French ‘culte.’

    This being said, thank you for the educational opportunity that this article would have me encounter. I love etymology, so the fact that the words culture and cult have direct ties to cultivation is über interesting. (Cultivating people is an humorous thought.)

    Finally, life is nothing without questioning our beliefs, behaviors, etcetera. So I strongly agree with the ideas in your article. (But, there is difficulty when one begins to question his or her questioning.)

    This site is thought-provoking, I kinda like it.

    1. Thanks for pointing out the more precise etymology of the word, Mike, I really do appreciate all corrections. I am a big fan of etymology, too!

      And I’m glad you’re enjoying the site 🙂

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