A Recipe for Culture

I was re-reading one of my favorite books, The Natural Navigator by Tristan Gooley. Something that stuck out to me, was a concept having to do with how conventions in a culture get set.

Curious? It’s simple science… When a number of people find them useful.

That’s it. 

No evidence of truth or justice or fact, but simply that enough people do it or say it or think it, that it becomes a recognizable social practice. Something once abstract, a floating opinion, suddenly becomes the way things are. Because enough people agree to it.

The idea fascinates me. These agreed upon ways of being, opinions about this-that-and-the-other-thing that get passed down from year to year, from one generation to the next. Stories that make history. Stories that don’t. 

It’s a choosing, I suppose. To follow decided-upon conventions. To repeat popular language. To obey rules that arguably lend themselves towards a civilized way to navigate shared spaces. Proof of shared values… yet without any proof of rightness. 

Ok… but then I think of the movie Brian and I saw last night, Hidden Figures. Blew our minds this was a significant piece of history we’d never heard before, anywhere along our educational and artistic paths… 

So here you are. Two stories. Gooley’s, that shows us what we’ve lost as we’ve moved forward and Shetterly’s that shows what we’ve gained… 

Each of us gets to change the world, even a little bit, and preserve what we love most… countless opportunities each day to decide what we will continue and what we will not… being present to the life that is happening now…