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10.12.09

What do we need to survive?

The survival of human kind depends on 3 primary categories – Food and Water, Shelter and Clothing, Reproduction through marriage, kinship and education.

This forms the genesis for Culture, as it is a set of shared behaviours, ideas and principles, a certain way of life passed on from one generation to another. As humans, we have the need to interpret and explain the world around us and we do this through Religion, Philosophy and Science. The means to satisfy these needs becomes the reflection of a culture, hence the diversity of cultures. This acts as and instrument to achieve welfare thus making culture the core of an individual – wellbeing.

Likewise, Culture is as important to a Community and a National wellbeing, as culture is not only important in its own right, but also a crucial means of achieving highest possible quality of life and the broadest range of opportunities. In its widest sense, it contains the whole complex of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional characteristics of a society.

What sense does it all make if culture includes only the Arts? And not the fundamental rights of human beings, value systems, traditions and beliefs?

Everyone is for justice, but not everyone is for social justice. When Progressives speak of social justice, they mean a society which is organized to provide, as far as possible, a good life for all its members, including a chance to participate in processes which affect their lives. A just society is one that meets people's needs, including the need to be productive.

We are living in an age of an extreme expression of capitalism – that functions under the sign of alienation. As the world draws closer together, each of us is more separated than ever before. Increasingly, we define ourselves primarily in terms of our economic role. We need a community morality, ways of encouraging each other to care and to act in behalf of the common good and the good of those who are least able to depend on themselves for their well being. The socialist principle "From each according to ability, to each according to need" is crazy in this world, but we can build a world in which it would be common sense. Public Justice along with Private Morality.

In conclusion, Culture and Social Justice needs to coexist to bring meaning to each other. This whole has many layers, like an onion. To understand it, you have to peel it, layer by layer. The outer layer contains the explicit, the observable products of culture – language, food, architecture, fashion, art etc. These are, in its own way symbols of a deeper layer. The inner layer or the core contains the values and the principles of a culture. Thus making it more difficult to identify it. Will an onion still be an onion without its inner layers? Can the outer layers still be born from a hollow centre?

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