Biological Evolution Versus Cultural Evolution From a Survivalist Viewpoint

Cultural changes correspondent to the biological changes in that cultures may evolve in explicit ways which may enable those people who reside within the particular culture to be better prepared to accept their environment. The idea of social Darwinism was coined as a result of the close similarities between culture and biological type of changes. It is significant when studying any culture that we accept the concept that different societies develop diverse cultural values. No two societies completely embrace the values which have been established by one or the others. There may be certain aspects which have been adopted into the nature of the social order but they usually do not accept everything obtained from the other group. As we review those countries which were conquered or colonized we see some very permanent changes taking place in their cultures. Examples of this can be found in history as we see the Romans adopting some of the Greek concepts.

Societies often struggle with one another not just for economic or for military superiority, but also in culturally related ways. In the case cited above with the Roman’s and the Greeks, we can elaborate that the Greeks may have lost the military war but they won the cultural battle. It is easy to understand that as the better based culture wins and in turn endures after all mankind in general improves as a result of this type of cultural progression. We have seen issues which relate that every manner of cultural change is based upon discoveries and inventions.

It all boils down to a matter of time. Biological changes can not be forced to move at any specific speed and thus fail to progress at the same pace as would the cultural changes. The cultural change involving a social order adapts to its specific needs. Frequently, we find that cultural modifications and evolutionary change response to the changes experienced within the environment in order to improve a specific interaction with current conditions. We see this in our society as we develop new technological advancements. Typical of this is the massive use of cell phones in our society today. One would be hard pressed to find a person without one next to their ear as they conduct their everyday business. People in general tend to change in order to derive benefits from their surroundings. In addition, the biological changes are usually of a more permanent nature than cultural. The time frames necessary to develop evolutionary changes take longer than those necessary for establishing cultural changes.

Typical examples of such events taking place would be the domestic draft animals such as horses or oxen. Without these animals we find that we would not need to develop the concept of the wheel. I am totally amazed at the progression that culture makes from one development to the next. Often times these developments take place without any sort of intervention from other cultural agencies as was the case with Ancient China. They created similar inventions without any outside influence.

In addition, often a discovery may dramatically alter the culture involved. Once a discovery is universally accepted by the group we see that it may at times bring about specific changes within the system itself. Farming techniques are prime examples of this concept. In this category we place the domestication of horses, inventions such as the wheel, the cotton gin, etc. For the most part discovery equates to knowledge while invention reflects heavily upon the application of these discoveries but of course the discoveries must conform to the norms of the society in general. Copernicus and his theories violated the norms of the day and thus suppression of his views was prominent. Society must be ready to accept the knowledge being given out. Look at how the development of the transistor and in later years the microchip has changed our culture from that of years ago to what it has become now.

Since a social order or society is limited to how much they can develop, we find great numbers of diffusion taking place. Different societies will readily give and take various discoveries with other cultures. One chain of thought states that societies which are separated from the other main-stream groups tend to develop rather slowly as was evident from the Chinese culture. With no outside influence, diffusion could not take place and progression was confined within resulting in developments being slow at coming. The greater outside contact is made the faster change takes place. Once an item is borrowed by a culture they quickly change and modify it to their particular cultural system. On the other hand sometimes these items may be rejected on the basis of religious or ethical beliefs.

Speaking of religion we find that in many situations certain aspects of the culture may be accepted while other premises would by rejected. This is noticeable in the religion of Voodoo. The people of Haiti were reluctant to part with their older West African religious beliefs but eager to employ some of the Catholic religious principles into their lives. As a result, we see a carefully mixed blend of Christianity and African tribal beliefs.

No discussion of cultural change would be complete without providing due consideration to acculturation and revolution. These are viewed as extreme forms of diffusion. Acculturation is often defined as the process of rapid diffusion resulting from the influence of a more dominant society. The Native Americans were acculturated into the European style of society whether they desired such changes or not. This was an obvious case of involuntary acculturation. Revolution is the radical change within the society. Noteworthy of this type of change would be our own industrial revolution.

You may question how all of this relates to being a survivalist? In the event of a SHTF situation we will begin to see many different cultural changes taking place. Our society will simply not be what it was prior to the upheaval. Observing and in some cases documenting our existing culture would likely be of great use during those crisis times ahead as we would be better prepared for the change when it takes place.

Another point to be made is that since no two cultures embrace the same dictates of values we will likely see different post apocalypse societies developing independently with a diverse cultural value. It would certainly be to our benefit to adapt some of these new cultures to our existing group both for economic and military reasons. Technology after the fact would slowly rebuild and as it does we would want to share in this knowledge and experiences. It would not be in our best interests as survivalists to isolate ourselves completely from other newly forming cultures. If we are to be the source of a new world after the old one has gone to pot we must be both adaptable and resourceful.