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A clash of primitive culture #ramble

On a Sunday as regular readers will know, I let you into the deepest and least accessible passageways of my mind. What’s on my mind today? Culture and the difference between the primitive and the sophisticated cultures that sometimes clash.

On Friday, primitive culture met the sophisticated Parisian culture that we  know for it’s fashions, style and art treasures. Aggression and violence are primitive expressions of belief. The terrorists that attacked Paris are primitive, they chant and they believe in a religion with a history going back Millennia. It is nearly a 1,000 years since the crusades, but it started a 1,000-year war between Islam and Christianity. Even though Christian countries have developed and their churches are empty, the mosques are still filling up. The problem isn’t really religion or race, it is culture.

The Chinese leader visited Britain recently and they had a banquet, of course, to impress him. This is traditional, lavish banquets with a menu in French have been the norm since the Norman conquest of Britain. Why wasn’t the menu in English or Chinese? Well, française is so much more superior don’t you think?

Have you ever wondered how English as a language survived the Roman invasion, the Anglo-Saxon invasion and the Norman invasion of England? According to some historians, the Saxons were barbaric and committed acts of ‘ethnic cleansing’. I have done some research and it seems their Thanes, their noble class, were given duties that included looking after the lower classes and making sure they had food and shelter. Things didn’t turn nasty until the Norman invasion. According to historians, the Saxons and Angles drove all the indigenous people out of England into Wales and Scotland. In the Black Country, our dialect appears to have Saxon influences, but it is mainly Olde English. The Saxons had to learn to speak English, the same as everyone who comes to England to live. My surname is Norman, but I am English. I was born here and my culture is English. My nephew’s children were born in Wales, they speak Welsh as well as English. It does not make them genetically Celtic. We are all mongrels, but some of the higher class Normans tended to keep themselves separate from the rest, they were the upper class and after nearly a thousand years their menus are still in French. They inbreed, so they may have less diverse genetics than the rest of us.

There is a lot of talk these days about aspirations. The elitist class still think the working class should aspire to be like them. The lower classes can’t change their culture, but with increased wealth and less poverty can change some things and have changed. It is true that many of the lower classes are simple minded and easily led. They will watch absolute drivel n television, copy their idols and fart in public just to show they are ‘one of the lads’. They wouldn’t be caught dead listening to Beethoven or visiting an art gallery. These are of course stereotypes and the so-called upper classes can at times be caught indulging in some very unsophisticated behaviour. Their hormones often drive their passions more than their intellect does. When we look closely we find the superior aren’t as superior as they claim to be and the uncultured not as primitive as they appear to be. You can find homeless people with values and the nobility with a primitive streak that makes them quite the sociopath.

It’s a mixed up world and all I can do is have some values, so I know what is right and what is wrong. It’s no good saying ‘because it’s the right thing to do’ without actually doing what’s right. Sometimes our choices are limited. We know violence is wrong and primitive, but it is sometimes necessary. In a civilised society, we have rules and we have restraint. We shouldn’t cheer on the primitive behaviour of others, we should show some restraint. The difference between people who are developed and people who are still primitive is restraint. It is about keeping control of ourselves, when people run riot, commit acts of unrestrained violence or cheer on acts of cruelty they are no different than the animals. They are driven by hormones and instincts. It was restraining those instincts that gave us agriculture, engineering and technology. It gave us a more ordered and safe world. People who refuse to accept that restraint are a problem and that was demonstrated in Paris and the worldwide condemnation shows there is hope for a safer peaceful world if we will all just accept progress.

That’s it for this week. This post is too serious. I always intend to write satire or humour, but life is a serious business. You can follow this blog by entering your email address in the space at the top of the sidebar or simply follow me on Twitter for updates.

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