The loss of culture is the loss of humanity

A traditional hut at a Museum. Our culture has been lost amidst blind acceptance of modernity.

Culture can sometimes seem pointless but a society cannot exist without it. It is considered a collection of standards, conducts and practices that determines how society functions.

Modernity has brought massive risks to our society unknowingly. We are still embracing the transition henceforth being at a great risk of social interactions.

According to Ulrich Beck (1992) in the book “Risk Society”, classical society solidarity was achieved through equality, but in the new modernity, solidarity is found in the search for the largely negative and defensive goal of being spared since it leads to trolling and dissing other individuals in order to feel superior or even equal to another.

Modernity has engulfed us to a point that we are all living without pursuing freedom. People’s judgment has been clouded by a view that things have to be a certain way and subsequently refusing to acknowledge or pursue alternate options. Some have yielded to external pressures to adopt false values hence being saddled in confusion.

The current problems in the society have majorly been brought by modernity. In the classical society for example, the concept of marriage had less basis in personal relationships and more in social responsibilities.

Marriage was usually arranged between the parents of the bride and the groom. A man
would choose his wife based on three things; dowry, her presumed fertility and her measured skills. There were no established age limits for marriage. It acted as an alliance between families.

Studies show traditional marriages reported high levels of overall happiness and meaningfulness of life.

Marriage in ancient times was a legally sanctioned union between a man and woman that is regulated by laws, rules, customs and attitudes. This was the main reason why marriages were successful in the past – because the purpose of marriage was majorly defined by the parents.

In contemporary society, modernization has changed the classical purpose of marriage. It’s a good thing that modern marriages are based on romantic love and mutual commitment, and the choice of a life partner is shifted from the family to the partners involved.

But with greater social freedoms, infidelity has increased, which has led to divorces caused by cheating and other rotten behaviours that have spawned ugliness in the modern world.

Most young people have bought into the modern narrative that they have absorbed the negative definitions of a broken generation. We are living in a set up where we have to engage in personal relationships which are affected by relational entanglements.

Cultural norms are key in preserving social order, helping avert chaos and conflict. Neglecting one’s culture has consequences: loss of tradition, erosion of values and impact on mental health.

This can plunge one into a full-fledged crisis. Some can also disregard their own culture and take on other cultures like the “pop culture” without understanding it. It’s honorary to preserve one’s cultural convention to avoid confusion. Why people may neglect culture is because they feel the norms are incompatible with what they believe such as temperaments and current
beliefs like astrology.

Modernization has led to the erosion of some cultural practices and values. It has ultimately affected the way knowledge and traditions are passed down from generation to generation. Some people may view culture as a cult, but a good culture has its foundations in the
values of people while a bad culture has no clear identity nor values. That gives easy discernment of what’s good and bad.

Culture is the lens through which we view our world. We start learning it before we even know ourselves better and it propagates through customs and religious traditions. It basically determines what makes up decent behaviour. Culture is what stabilizes society. Without it we would fall into an abyss of anomia, a state in which no one is sure what are acceptable norms and values.


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By Annah Njuguna and John Njuguna

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