Chapter 3.2 Cultural Heritage

Cultural Heritage

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture.  Just get people to stop reading them.”
Ray Bradbury  Science Fiction Writer

Cultural heritage, in my mind, revolves around where one is born, in what environment, and surrounded by which custom and beliefs.  Parents raise their children within the society that they exist.  Many do not expose them to other cultures, other ways of life.  Many who have strong beliefs even shield their children from knowing others’ ways.  What happens is that the cultural rituals and beliefs become so important to protect, that people fight to preserve them.  The elders have passed on certain cultural beliefs … it is our purported duty to continue them.

A man who prides himself on his ancestry is like the potato plant, the best part of which is underground.
Spanish Proverb

Occasionally I am recommended a book that settles nicely with my curiosity.  One such book triggered this desire to write and started me to consider things a few layers deeper. It helped to establish an interesting assumption that opened my mind to evaluating some different perspectives.

The book is Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian Weiss M.D.  Dr. Weiss is a respected psychiatrist, who when traditional therapy fails, uses hypnosis to assist his clients in unblocking their minds’ defenses, in hopes of identifying some potential underlying reasons for their phobias and fears.

This book is about one of his clients, a young woman named Catherine, who had many fears … fears that were burdening her life.  Eventually, after being unsuccessful using traditional therapy for more than a year, Dr. Weiss led Catherine into a hypnotic state, attempting to regress her to any childhood moments that might provide clues to her current fears and phobias.

When he asked her to go to the time that her symptoms first arose, she skipped back to an ancient life, presumably in Egypt.  (Hold on … this is not a good place to S-K just yet. You don’t have to believe this example to make it to the end of my journey.)  Catherine was able to describe her attire and environment in remarkable detail.  Further sessions took them to other lives, some important and some not.  They determined that she had lived over 200 different lives, in different cultures, different parts of the world, even as a different gender at times.

The belief of many earthly lives is a part of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism, but it is not contained in Christianity, Judaism, or Islam.  Much debate continues on whether references of many lives actually existed in the Old and the New Testaments.  Some scholars believe that this particular concept was removed in 325 AD by the emperor of the Roman Empire, Constantine the Great, and that it was later confirmed as heresy by the Fifth Council of Constantinople in 533 AD.

A reason often cited by those that believe that the concept was removed from the teachings is basically:

“… that this concept would weaken the growing power of the Church by giving humans too much time to seek their salvation.”
Many Lives Many Masters  Brian Weiss

Our Western religions profess that we have only one shot at eternal bliss or eternal damnation, and this is it.  And of course, each religion believes that their way is the only highway to heaven.  In fact if you don’t travel their road, you won’t make it at all. Many of us don’t figure that it is worth taking a chance that maybe this one life concept isn’t right. Perhaps, playing the fear card has been used for many centuries.

So what does this have to do with our cultural heritage? If you believe that you only have one life to live, then it becomes very important that you sustain your beliefs through your children.  They must carry on your culture and traditions.  We must please the ancestors.  If you knew that you were going to return again, probably to a different culture, a different part of the world, protecting your current traditions would be less of a burden.  Cultural preservation would be important for world diversity, but you wouldn’t have to answer to your ancestors waiting on the other side.

“Tradition is an explanation for acting without thinking.”
Grace McGarvie     American Writer

Dr. Weiss, and many others, claim through regression therapy that individual’s past lives scan the globe.  Catherine was an Egyptian slave, a male German Nazi fighter pilot, a Spanish prostitute, a British sailor, a French waif, an American Indian healer, a Japanese scholar, to name a few.  So how important would it be that my family tree has branches in Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, and American Indian.

“I have Indian blood in me.  I have just enough white blood for you to question my honesty.”
Will Rogers (1879-1935)   American Humorist

True, my body and my genetic traits have evolved through this chain.  My looks, certain thought capabilities, where I live. But what if in my previous lives (now I haven’t personally regressed myself, so this is all conjecture), I was a Spanish Flamenco palmas, an Italian fisherman, a Buddhist monk, a Chinese opium user (you can all probably buy into that one!).  Maybe I actually liked seal blubber, or relished grubs or peas porridge hot and cold.  Maybe I had dark skin or long luxurious hair (or hair period.)

Then my current beliefs are a purely a function of what I have been taught by my parents, my friends, my newspapers, my teachers, my government … anyone that I have had contact in some way in my life.  (I really am getting much closer to Mastering the Obvious.)

But in our lives, our cultural heritage is so strong, and so important that we must defend it.  Our beliefs are better than other people, those in other parts of the world, because my grand-pappy told me so.  Yet in a past life, I may have been one of the Englishmen that actually drove my grand-pappy from Scotland to Northern Ireland.  I may have been his antagonist, his enemy.  Or I might have been in South America fishing the Amazon in a loincloth.

Now this is getting a bit over-the-top … before you Slam-Klunk me here, give me one more chance.  This cultural heritage stuff is what wars are made of …

***

NEXT: In time we will discover the third heritage …. can you guess what it is?

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2 Responses to “Chapter 3.2 Cultural Heritage”

  1. alpinerainn Says:

    Great points made here. I love the Weiss book! 🙂

    • papadlight Says:

      The Weiss book (and his whole series) sure changes your perspective on what we are doing in this life. Thanks for your comments.

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