Monday, June 29, 2009

Conforming Tradition

Those who subscribe to social construction must understand how tradition "works", so that a successful re-definition can be accomplished. Re-defining tradition is important to bring about transformation. The question today is what is tradition's role, when science is understanding human development in such a way that undermines the prominent role of tradition in past centuries.

Tradition, in the past, when there were hierarchal understandings of government, brings about "hope" to oppressed people, by giving a future judgment to the injustices suffered today. The "constructors" of tradition (theologians/philosophers) also use "moral modelling" to give a "vision of life", so that moral example can be followed. These images, whether real historical figures, or mythical ones are literary devices that "conform" the individual to group norms and values. Because these cultures are hierarhcal in governing, the "role model" is one of personal sacrifice. The personal sacrifice of one class for another is the moral model for an aristocratic class, which is what "inspired" Luther to bring about the Reformation in questioning the Church authorities. Tradition is not based on democratic ideals. The book of Hebrews in the Christian scripture and "The Chronicles of Narnia" are two examples of these types of Christiaan literature.

The social sciences are revealing that men develop through the use of education, where critical thinking is valued and helps the individual to come to terms with his own values, apart from traditional conformity. This is not to say that tradition will not become a dominant value to one such educated, as the indiviudal must determine for himself what is of ultimate concern. But, it does mean that the individual could leave tradition's role and re-define himself according to his own personal interests and values.

Traditional cultures depend on religion to maintain their identification and define values. These values are interpreted by religious authorities that rule and dominate another's conscience and choice. These cultures do not value freedom in any form, as freedom of information through academia, the media, and life choice would undermine tradition's role of dominance and determination, which would limit and undermine the aristocrat in their purpose of maintaining "social order", whether the "aristocrat" is a political or religious leader.

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