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Thread: The Relationship Between Culture and Soil

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    Question The Relationship Between Culture and Soil

    I've been reading the thoughts of some philosophers and thinkers of the 20th century and I'm curious what your view is about the relationship. Do you think our current culture owes its existence at least in part, to the soil we dwell on?
    Some philosophers thought that an own culture of a group couldn't have developed unless in the conditions of the earth where the ethnicity lay. In other words, would our culture have been different if we had dwell in Africa instead of Europe? If the climate had been a hot one, tropical, desertic? Do you think our culture will be different if in 1000 years we will be dwelling on the Moon or another planet instead of Earth?

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    Senior Member Hrodnand's Avatar
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    Yes obviously, there is or at least should be such a link between culture and soil. Consider our ancient ancestors whose culture and way of life was in strong bound and harmony with their natural environment, thus their views and perceptions of life in general were heavily influenced by the surroundings. Any change in their environment would have had an impact upon this bound and further upon their culture (such as moving to Africa, a completely different environment).
    Therefor, I firmly believe that the 'traditional germanic environment' that is mostly the northern part of Europe, had one of the most important roles in shaping early germanic culture, that is our oldest cultural cradle even today.
    This environmental influence upon culture was at it's height until christianity was introduced when people turned from nature to the church and any kind of 'harmonious relationship' with the environment was considered heresy. From then on germanic cultures were changed fundamentally and I can't name a period in history after wards when people have had returned so fully to that balance between culture and soil.
    :Überschöpfung:



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    Yes, indeed it does.
    There is this concept "Blut und Boden" (blood and soil) which connects both. The blood is not onyl the abstract of the blood of our races, but also the blood spilled while recovering fertile soil from the wilderness as well as the battles to protect it. It all unfolds around the nature, the soil on which we dwell. And the blood, the kin relation, is also the source for the culture that grows on it, and the culture shapes the soil further. An endless cycle of mutual development.
    Ein Leben ist nichts, deine Sprosse sind alles
    Aller Sturm nimmt nichts, weil dein Wurzelgriff zu stark ist
    und endet meine Frist, weiss ich dass du noch da bist
    Gefürchtet von der Zeit, mein Baum, mein Stamm in Ewigkeit

    my signature

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    Senior Member Hrodnand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by velvet View Post
    Yes, indeed it does.
    There is this concept "Blut und Boden" (blood and soil) which connects both. The blood is not onyl the abstract of the blood of our races, but also the blood spilled while recovering fertile soil from the wilderness as well as the battles to protect it. It all unfolds around the nature, the soil on which we dwell. And the blood, the kin relation, is also the source for the culture that grows on it, and the culture shapes the soil further. An endless cycle of mutual development.

    Exactly, that's one of the main points and values of an indigenous culture - to be bred on a particular soil by a particular people that dwells on that soil and so it becomes unique.
    For many of us nowadays it might seem strange the importance of 'folk-culture-soil' bound because we live in a metropolitan world where city-life is everything and where most things are granted without us putting much effort in their creation. However, traditional life originally means that the folk can only survive if lives in balance with it's natural environment - this requires a culture forged by the folk (for certain indigenous common sense and principles so that it works for the individuals) which lays enough importance on the folk - soil bound to sustain the balance and ensure survival.
    :Überschöpfung:



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    Senior Member triedandtru's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hrodnand View Post
    Exactly, that's one of the main points and values of an indigenous culture - to be bred on a particular soil by a particular people that dwells on that soil and so it becomes unique.
    This is not only true of Germanic folk and cultures, but I believe all peoples. The land is part of what shapes who and how someone and their ancestors are/were.

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    Good answers, but there is a thing that doesn't seem to fall in place. The Germanic enclaves from the continents with hotter climate. They still preserved the language and culture of their ancestors. Or even in the colonies, like in the US desert or in Australia or New Zealand. Hmm, how could this be explained?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Siebenbürgerin View Post
    Good answers, but there is a thing that doesn't seem to fall in place. The Germanic enclaves from the continents with hotter climate. They still preserved the language and culture of their ancestors. Or even in the colonies, like in the US desert or in Australia or New Zealand. Hmm, how could this be explained?

    They did preserve, but these germanic cultures are all different and had changed during the centuries in one way or another than they were before emigration from the Fatherland. The answer to this would be adaptation to the new environment which is the key for the survival of the folk, but adaptation also brings changes in the culture usually. Just consider our saxon community which had indeed preserve its germanic identity and customs but it also adapted and integrated several elements that are common in the other ethnically different Transylvanian communities.
    Adapting while preserving is one of the greatest and most important tasks for any germanic colonial that sets foot on a new Motherland. I believe that the Vandals have failed to face this task in North-Africa and so they were either extinct not being able to adapt or they managed to adapt but they failed to preserve their indigenous germanic culture.
    :Überschöpfung:



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    Quote Originally Posted by Siebenbürgerin View Post
    Good answers, but there is a thing that doesn't seem to fall in place. The Germanic enclaves from the continents with hotter climate. They still preserved the language and culture of their ancestors. Or even in the colonies, like in the US desert or in Australia or New Zealand. Hmm, how could this be explained?
    I'd reason the effect the natural environment would have had on the development of Germanic culture would have been much more pronounced during its infancy than when it has matured and traditions and customs have been more firmly established.

    Also, how much time did the colonial cultures really have to harmonize anew with a natural environment different than their ancestral homes? I don't think it would be a fair estimate to simply count the number of years (or number of generations) since the colonial populations were established up until today - wouldn't the advance of industrialization have removed us from our close relationship with nature and therefor the effect it would have on our continued cultural development? For me it seems as if the relatively small cultural distance between colonials and fatherland Germanics is exactly what we should expect when under the assumption that the natural world has an influence in our culture.

    What I believe to be the relationship between culture and soil is directly tied to what I believe to be pragmatic implications of peoples' approach to nature. For example (and this is just guessing), I'd assume a culture growing within a desert environment would be less eager to pursue notions of harmonious relationships with nature if their relatively barren environment is less forthcoming with food and water and its people need to squeeze as much from the land as possible to survive and grow (cultivating an all-nature-belongs-to-us notion?). Culture is a combination of mutually constructive notions, and not just a collection of disassociated ideas, so to me it would make sense that a forest folk and desert folk would have developed vastly different cultures simply from what their natural environments necessitated from them.

    A note on the dry areas in South Africa: it might just be my bias as a non-Christian, but it seems to me as if the Boer population in the drier parts of the country, and with a historically closer relationship with the arid South African soil, are inclined to much more easily accept Biblical scripture as literal truth, which I to some extent associate with similar camps of thought in the other Abrahamic religions. Also keep in mind the (small but loud) Christian identity movements in practically all colonial lands. SA has a particularly deviant version of this, called the Israel Vision - the belief that Boers are the "true Israelites". Perhaps the arid, unaccommodating lands have kindled a desire to degenerate into a desert folk.

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