Mother Culture, Siren Singer
Meet Mother Culture. I’ll be referring to her a lot in coming posts (actually have referred to her a lot already) and thought I should make a formal introduction.
Mother we all know. In all her forms.
Mother Culture though?
She is the womb you slip into when you slip out of your biological mother. She is the unseen, unacknowledged voice in your ear, shaping, guiding, controlling your journey through life.
Mother culture is all the traditions, symbols, values, ways, music, art, rules, laws (fine distinction between these last two, worth a ponder), limitations, permissions, acceptable limits, beliefs, systems, belief systems, religions…. in other words, everything that “defines” life as we know it and the bounds within which we live it.
Mother culture is the boundary marker of all human endeavour, the cornerstone and foundation of the dominant paradigm. The dominant paradigm is the visible aspect of Mother Culture and they are a co-dependent, mutually in-exclusive pair. They grow together and thankfully, die together too. That is why we have the rise AND the fall of dominant cultures/paradigms. But more on that another day.
Make no mistake though, a womb is necessary for any creation to have form. Without boundaries, we would all be blobs, floating around in infinity. It is the egg that subtly gives the chick it’s form. It is the womb that forms the baby.
Think of it as a mold. No mold, no form.
If we did not have mother culture, we would not be.
Since she is there from the early days of a culture’s formation, and symbiotically in-forms the dominant paradigm, she is all powerful. To break free of mother culture is a herculean task. Few have succeeded. Those that did were called, fools, mystics or simply insane. Nowadays we label them as having ADD or ADHD or Schizophrenia and lock them up or drug them down.
She is the voice in your head that is constantly forming your “value” system, your basis for judgement, the boundaries of your freedoms, the expressions of your selfhood….. essentially everything you do or say. And with every whisper (not being dramatic here, something always “tells” you right from wrong, good from bad, acceptable from unacceptable), she further solidifies the dominant paradigm.
The voice of Mother Culture in the industrial age has been one hell of a siren song.
Going back not so long ago, within the space of the past two thousand years, the awareness in people rose of the ugliness of their dominant paradigms. The soldiers, the serfs, the peasants, the industrial labourer, the wage-slave, the dis-enfranchised, the shunned…. often tried to rise against the dominant paradigm.
But in every century, Mother Culture had a dominant voice. First it was Monarchy (Divinely ordained, Divine right to rule), then it was the General (simple, Brute Force at their command), then it was the Clergy (Ear of God, Voice of God), then it was the Political Leader (Firebrand, Warrior, For the People)…. and now the captain of Industry(if you behave I’ll pay you, if you don’t you’ll starve).
A little simplistic, the list above, but you are wise enough to fill in the blanks.
So using blind belief (also fostered by Mother Culture), idolatory (same), Fear (same), hope (same) and inducement (same), through different voices, Mother Culture has crooned us into submission.
And she learns from every revolt, refines the message. Refines the messenger (TV is Mother Cultures ultimate messenger and we all know no one, NO ONE will ever shoot their TV).
Clearly it works well enough for those who are comfortable in their servitude, happy in sameness.
What about the rest of us? How can we possibly shut off the voice of this siren, who has been perfecting her song for Millenia? She is embedded. Embedded things can only be surgically removed. And how deep? From the moment of birth? From womb to womb?
Make no mistake, even now, as you read this, she is furiously whispering in your ear, telling you that this is mere rambling and she knows, has always known what is good for you. She has kept you safe and well, has she not?
Let me then be the first to label her a fickle harlot.
Mother culture represents in-doctrination. In-doctrination is the sworn enemy of self-knowledge, It needs to be ripped out for one to be able to see. She is the blinder over your eyes and knows that for you, adjusting to a new, “real” reality can be harsh.
Pay attention and next time you are judging (which is almost all the time) and listen to Mother Culture’s voice in your head.
Isolating her is the first step to breaking free.
I met Mother Culture in the book Ishmael by Daniel Quinn.
Be well and pay attention!