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The Essence of Evolutionary Culture

Allamah Muhammad Taqi Ja'fari
The bi-polar quality of culture means it possesses both innately internal and innately external aspects, just like the bi-polar quality of beauty does. Since conceiving beauty depends on human psychological and mental characteristics (other living beings are incapable of it), comprehending culture also has an innately internal aspect resulted by “The Principle of Protecting Evolutional Essence.”
As beauty has a virtually external aspect, such as the refreshing appearances of a flower, moonlight, a river fall, or beautiful handwriting, so does culture, like observable examples of morals, works of art, and architectural characteristics representing various external acquisitions and ideals.
The most apparent evidence for the bi-polar quality of culture is the same as that of beauty, which is specifically devoting the capability of comprehending beauty to man. In other words, cultural life is exclusive to human beings. If we consider all of the given definitions for culture, we find that none are applicable to animals.
Human perception and activities are undoubtedly unlimited from an evolutionary point of view. Man's experiences throughout history obviously prove that although no human being can innately achieve the essence of greatness, moving on a path towards the highest virtues is nevertheless a characteristic of mankind which has caused his immense accomplishments and all well- established encyclopaedias around the world approve of. Hence, those activities and phenomena not rising from mental and psychological processes cannot fit in the definition of culture, no matter how appealingly fantastic they may be. Even if interesting issues play a role in preventing life from becoming monotonous and fading the boundary between physical and spiritual affairs, they should nevertheless be excluded from culture -for the sake of the essence of culture itself -let alone when they are harmful, e.g. obscene pictures which demolish moral chastity, or some types of music and drugs. Unfortunately, fallacious paralogism has brought about deviations in the highly virtual meaning of culture, degrading it to a level which ranks humans with lowly animals, like gathering many huge snakes intrigued to bite; as ancient Persian culture states: “Scorpions do not sting out of revenge or hate; their nature causes them to do so”
However, some lethally dangerous “human beings” tend to use all of their valuable capabilities and talents consciously for their own selfish pleasures and desires, reasoning that ‘pain is terrible, and losing one's wealth and possessions is truly painful’. This is the natural ego observed in man throughout history. Can brotherhood, equality, reasonable liberty, graciousness, and human dignity be achieved through such natural egos so deeply immersed in conflicting disturbance? By no means, for such a wish would prove only a humiliatingly deceitful hallucination. Therefore, accomplishing high virtues such as unity, logical equality and brotherhood in human societies inevitably requires perfect cultural elements like proper, meritorious morals and the highest qualities, such as justice, dutifulness, sympathy towards peers, accountability towards other fellow citizens and conceiving the exquisite glory of the universe by comprehending its beauty and fine order, all of which guide man along the quickest possible way to the creator of the rules of equality among men. No other path would lead to the pure ideal depicted by Universal Human Rights, man's general culture, morals and human universal nature.
Nowadays, scientists, experts and anyone with the least basic knowledge can merely refer to any well-known encyclopaedia to realize the essence of a culture able to save humanity, which can be defined as: “The proper quality or deserved methods used for those of man’s physical or spiritual needs based on human logical thoughts and emotions arisen from reasonable evolutionary lifestyles.”
This is a fundamental part of our discussions on culture. In other words, by presenting the definitions of culture in various well-known encyclopaedias all over the world, we prove -at this critical period of time -that the commonalites between them all are properness, perfection, physical and spiritual development, graciousness, dignity, integrity, meritorious life, responsible freedom, and lawful justice.
Now let us analyze the above mentioned definition [1] that we stated as the most comprehensive of all. Doing so, we will come to four main principles vital to achieving the important ends and content of culture.

The Four Principles of Culture
ONE: The concept of culture -as presented in civilized nations -include “proper-ness” and “deservingness” based upon the logical thoughts and emotions arisen from people. Thus, although some phenomena in some societies may be regarded as culture, they cannot even be considered as true cultural phenomena, let alone if they conflict with reasonable thinking, emotions, and literature for they do not contain logical thought or perfect human emotions. This is why no aspect of selfishness (racism, greed for money, power, fame or pleasure) can fit into the concept of culture, for as we quoted from the world's most distinguished encyclopaedias: “Culture is the proper quality or deserved method of the phenomena in man's life; in other words, culture contains the highest values.”
Thus, those who call greed for fame, money, power, pleasure, selfishness or mutiny culture, have betrayed the highest of human virtues terribly. Calling a person or a society cultureless is the worst insult possible.
TWO: Without culture as we defined it, human life does not deserve to go on, for a life without culture means a life empty of meaning, thought, logic or perfect human emotions.
THREE: The more the culture of a society depends on logical principles and high human receptions, the more meritorious and proper it will be.
FOUR: Culture is a two-dimensional reality, consisting of absolute and relative aspects.
Clearly, by “absolute” we do not mean in the philosophical sense, but that it is much more comprehensive than other relative cultural elements. Such a categorization brings us to general and special cultures.
Special cultures, caused by the relative aspect of culture, pertain to certain nations or peoples of specific thoughts or emotions. A few notable examples are the cultures of bullfighting in Spain , or the exaggerated amount of courtesy and bowing in Japan . [2]
General culture pertains to meritorious qualities appropriate to man's physical or spiritual lifestyle, phenomena and activities not limited to any specific nation or race, e.g. cultures like aesthetics, mutual respect among people, justice, knowledge, and creating heroes.
We may conclude from the above statements that, since culture means the proper qualities fit for the physical or spiritual phenomena and activities in man's life, accepting and reflecting the totally natural compulsory facts or effects of human life - such as eating and drinking -cannot be regarded as a part of culture; however, their connection to prayers, which is quite common in Islam and some other religious societies, fits into the domain of culture. Defending one's life, preparing a shelter, or accessing scientific or philosophical facts through the senses can also be considered as a part of culture.

The Connection between the Necessary Cultural Elements and the Merited
It is quite difficult to make a clear distinction between these two types of cultural elements without encountering a conflict, for accusing man of ignoring the gloriously perfect human ideals for providing the necessities of his life, would be denying the most obvious of fact -all reason and conscience.
Defying human glory and man's great ideals, and degrading mankind down to being equivalent to honeybees, means destroying all humanity. Furthermore, isolating cultural concepts from the vital facts of life -like knowledge, science and other mental activities that adjust or life -leads to the separation of perfectionist tendencies from normal life, which in turn causes spiritual dilemma between “natural and evolutionarily spiritual” life.
Early in the 21st century, we have seen many pioneer societies on the earth making great effort in order to implement the most realistic economic, social, legal or moral ideologies in their communities. Not only did they fail to do so, but they have even -as we have already seen in the definitions of culture in such countries as Russia or China -clearly admitted the necessity of a pioneer spiritual culture regardless of any presumptions of an ideology. Accepting the necessity of culture is not brought about by one or a few conventional factors, but by man's human nature, without man would totally lose his humanity -when “man stepped which out of his prehistoric caves and entered the unfeeling wheels of a machine.”
Hence, ever since man came to being, he had culture beside him to provide his life with delicacy and fulfil his highest spiritual ideals. Man's close connection with culture has given profound cultural value to morals and arts (in a general sense), true knowledge, “taboo morals”, customs and even laws. It is quite a simple, unquestionable fact that without spiritual culture [3] , man would lose his life.
Solzhentisyn [4] has thus elaborated on this matter at the International Congress of Philosophy in Liechtenstein: "We can generalize the same moral expectations we consider for man to governments, rulers, parliaments and political parties. If politics does not have a moral basis, there will truly be no future for mankind. Russians have been literally witnessing this since centuries ago. I unfortunately see that my countries’ goals have fallen way behind even the West. After seventy years of unbelievable pressure and suffocating dictatorship, there is now abundant freedom among the poor classes, and many people have totally forsaken their conscience; however, we must not let this problem distribute among other countries. As we approach the end of the second millennium, this problem continues to threaten all of mankind.”

The Progress Crisis
He adds: "We do make progress -but in what? What kind of advances are the issue here? Progress is limited to technological civilization, more luxury in life and military explorations. We are voraciously swallowing the nature that we take for granted. But among such progress -devoid of any moral development -our physical needs increase with such extreme rapidity that we are left confused. We insatiably keep expanding our possessions (in other words, we more and more use up our resources of human identity); however, when it comes to acquiring higher moral virtues and spiritual goals, we prove to be futile tools of greedy exploitations. Transportation and communications now take place at incredible ease; people can travel all around the world with a mere pressing of a television button.
Yet, in the middle of such an ocean of superficial information, the human soul is not only failing to progress, but is actually heading for doom. The more materialistically luxurious man becomes, the more will his spiritual life fade away. Scientific, technological, and economic advances are leading us to slavery. Constantly in seek of new discoveries, we have lost our goals; what indeed, is the end in life? We failed to escape from our endless responsibilities. Telephones and television demolished the integrity of our time, and began to impose the conditions upon us. Communication among humans began to frail. People, particularly the elderly, found themselves living alone. Unable to put technology to use in welfare aims or to unite humans, we have become its plaything. Progress couldn't keep us away from globalizing responsibilities. Furthermore, we are increasingly unprepared for them. We have lost the rhythm that was always alongside our virtual and physical well-being; good and evil have become illusively obscured. Another outcome of our spiritual degradation is the absence of the relaxed attitude we used to have towards death. However financially secure one may be, the fear of death starts a cold sweat on any tycoon's skin. Insatiable, scandalous lifestyles have brought about an immense horror of death. As man gradually tries to consider himself the center of the universe, he tends to see the universe as a part of himself, rather than see himself as a part of the universe.
The presumption "Everything leads to death” has begun to dominate us like a threatening weapon. Nuclear threats rule the Twentieth century. Although everything seemed indifferent afterwards, the threat created a uniting concept in order to impose itself again on Western societies. Towards the end of the century, internal ideological decay caused Communism to self-destruct. The demise of Communism caused the nuclear threat to recede, at an unpredictably rapid rate. The world, however, still does not feel completely secure.
Communism still lives on in Some parts of the former Soviet Union, for as brutal capitalism continues to disgustingly ravage its national resources –to such an extent that even has the West astonished -Communist slogans on 'equality and justice in poverty , have appealed to classes unable to withstand the conditions” [5]

Has the Reality Called Culture Undergone Evolution throughout Historic Changes?
Progress in several cultural elements, such as science, cultivating talents and potentials, usually responds with a positive answer: Yes, culture has evolved throughout history, Of course, evolutional progress in culture is any perfectionist human being's ideal. But does history also confirm such progress?
If development means scientific advances concerning nature and human lifestyles, such culture has definitely made profound progress. The reason is quite obvious: the vital needs of life in nature, and also man's greed and ambition for power, has greatly expanded the necessary phenomena of culture.
We have already noted in our definition of culture that the necessities and worthy aspects of cultures do not always necessarily arise from reality, for man has time and again created artificial demands out of his selfish greed for power, and labelled them the necessities of life. For instance, exploitations, weakening peoples' will power and various sexual intrigues have been called art, considered a meritorious culture.
However, the other aspect of culture -including man's evolutionary needs for perfection -despite an ideal to any clear conscience, has not only failed to progress, but even shrunk due to advances in man's necessities for natural life (i.e., physical culture), to such an extent that it is sometimes considered as a disturbing factor. Let us consider the reasons why physical culture has made so much progress, but evolutionary culture heads for deterioration (of course, we do not intend to deny any exceptional cases):
1. Inability in finding a culture that can moderate selfishness and protect and follow evolutionary virtues.
2. Affections that lead to positive virtues vanish due to the ignorance of cultures receiving reasonable and observable beauty.
3. Neglecting cultures concerning rights, power and how to use power in order to uphold righteousness.
4. Ignoring the culture of benefiting from outstanding figures and genius among the society.
5. Greed for power, fame and wealth has demolished man's culture of scientific conscience, except for a painfully meagre minority in which it has been confined inside their pure souls
6. What on earth happened to the constructive culture that could elevate human relationships from a hide- and-seek charade to an ocean of pure souls where waves constantly meet?
Human spirit is a unified soul, whereas in animals it is but a rigid lump of clay
Their number is as great as the wind, and flow strongly as waves
His light will never suffer division for God supports it.
7. After all these years of endeavour to create civilizations and humanities, and all the toil and sacrifice put into making fundamentals -like a) meritorious life, b) human grace and dignity. c) reasonable. responsible freedom and d) total equality towards laws - a reality, not only puppet rulers today still unconsciously do obey powerful tyrants totally ignorant of humanity, but philosophical cultures such as Machiavellian’s doctrines on survival and the theories of authoritarians like Hobbes or Nitche are even taught at universities without the least criticism. There are dozens of other examples verifying evolutionary meritorious cultures being are ignored by the majority of today's human society.
Among the worst effects of the decline in meritorious evolutionary cultures on man's life was his deprivation of acquiring higher virtual truth, which led to committing any kind of injustice. As a result, their perception of reality has become extremely limited. Let us consider an example of such intense limitation: People have lost their ability to comprehend mental reasonable beauties. Mechanized life culture prevented man from understanding the beauty lying in the universe and in the essence of life. In other words, man is now only capable of sensing the beauty of a flower (an observable beauty) -that is how painfully degraded mechanized life has made him.
Thus, the beauty of realities such as justice, righteousness, freedom of conscience, human dignity and chastity and the essence of life remain buried in books of sermons.
Various greed-driven crimes defying all morals and conscience, especially in political cultures, have caused irreversible damage to evolutionary culture.
The changes occurring in the logics behind human socioeconomic trends -shifting towards increasingly consumerist societies requiring more and more manufacture -has demolished the culture of “earn to live”, which leads us to “live to provide the desires of the greedy” culture: “In today's technological circumstances, the motto has become: More Production, Better Economy!”
Do they really not know -or do they consciously ignore -who is actually responsible for more production? Are they unaware of those trampled under the pressure of manufacture increases? They do not seem to realize at all that however plentiful the mines and resources on earth may be, they will eventually run out.
Racism and regionalism are other “meritorious evolutionary anti-cultures” that are rapidly strengthening along with the “development of today's civilizations”. In fact, unlike many short-living socioeconomic theories and schools of thought, racism and regionalism are rooting stronger day by day, putting all laws, cultures, knowledge, economics and universal human power up to ridicule.

Disharmonious Cultural Elements in Real Facts May Demolish All of Human Culture
We have already mentioned that since man is directly involved in the formation of culture -it is man who builds up a culture out of his environment, historical phenomena, relative and/or absolute ideals and his concept of ideology, and also it is man who attempts to harmonize permanent laws with temporary events in a period of time in order to create a culture he could live by, and finally because man has too many aspects to harmonize -cultural elements usually suffer from disharmony, and ruling authorities prefer accountable “things” rather than “people”.
The primary reason for such disharmony is the authoritarian and power-greedy tendencies that prefer cultural elements directly or indirectly effective in enhancing domination and power. Thus, there would be no need for any organized system of social culture. In other words, it is possible to have a moral culture based on emotions and still base scientific culture on purely mental anthropology .Like-wise, having abstract tendencies in ethical artistic cultures, and yet seeing observable tendencies in its historical culture is also possible. Or maybe a purely supernatural religious culture beside a totally realistic scientific culture, e.g. European Christianity during the last two centuries compared to their scientific realism.
The reason behind the destructive effect of disharmony of cultural elements upon the entire Islamic culture lies in the unity of human life, primarily based on “man's evolutionary virtues.” When basic cultural elements fail, unity vanishes and all of human culture faces certain doom. The most harmful form of disharmony in cultural elements is the isolation of spiritual basics and mental human virtues from physical aspects of culture, which is a result of greed for wealth, power and purely animal-like desires.
Here is an excerpt from a paper by Paul G. Bahanan, anthropology professor at the University of California: “All cultures undergo change, some slowly and some rapidly. Since culture consists of various factors. Changes in one of them would also affect the others. Some sociologists believe that many social problems are due to disharmonious changes in cultural elements. Cultural retardation occurs when some parts of a culture tend to follow others. Many cultural retardation in the history of the United States have occurred in its non-physical traditions, thoughts and issues. Science and technology advance so rapidly that they have put spiritual issues way behind. [6]

Reasons for Disharmony in Social Cultural Elements
The main reasons citable for disharmony in the cultural elements of a society are:
1. Selfish rulers: No meritorious reality in the world has survived destructive influences by the selfish.
When people believe that “law” is a spider web aimed to entrap the meek, culture will indeed be regarded as devoid of any worthy qualities of life or compulsory guidelines.
2. Hedonism, which arises with “the natural self” and strengthens with nihilism, and defies all laws and principles.
3. Authoritarianism, in any form or caused by anyone it may be, demolishes all cultural merits, and so cleverly decorates their remains that it seems to claim, “I have granted you the most desirable culture you could imagine!" Poor simpletons who never cease to be deceived time and again by jargon like cultural or civilizational transfer.
The road is smooth, but riddled with hidden traps; an abyss of meanings in an ocean of names.
Words and names are like traps, as pebbles beneath water (our life) passing us by.

Pursuant Culture and Pioneer Culture
“Pursuant culture refers to physical or non-physical qualities and ways of life based on no pre-established principle, but seeking approval only through people's desires.”
In other words, such cultures arise from any need, behaviour or desire people have, regardless of their compliance with man's non-physical realities.
Thus any of people's desires opposing religion, morals, dignity or logic can be considered as culture! Such Fraudulence in the name of culture [7] has greatly spread during our times, and will undoubtedly lead to the annihilation of humanity.
Although pursuant culture obviously means obeying human desires, we must keep in mind that it also provides selfish authoritarians with the chance they need.
In fact, this kind of culture both satisfies people's purely natural desires, and those of their rulers, who find the opportunity to not only fulfil their people's wishes, but also disguise any factors opposing religion, morals or human dignity in the name of culture.
Pursuant laws could prove to be much more suitable for people's needs rather than pursuant culture, for “laws” pertain directly to the context of people's lifelines, which thus can be constantly modified and adjusted according to people's actual needs; culture, on the other hand, being based on non-physical beauties and delicacies, cannot be manipulated -by people's physical needs. However, any lowly, morality-defying activity or quality is nowadays publicized in the name of culture.
Considering this theory proposed by several sociologists, we may come to the conclusion that a constructive, pioneer culture as the leader of human civilization should be a doctor, not a waiter: "Doctors are highly different from waiters, Waiters in a restaurant provide you with whatever you desire, whereas a doctor follows his own academic principles; he prescribes what he believes necessary, regardless of what you think, A pioneer politician should be like a doctor, not a waiter.”

Whenever Man Has Followed Pioneer Systems, He Has Successfully Made Progress
Let us present a few examples to elaborate on this critical point:
a. Is it possible for an ordinary person to interfere in the most advanced of academic issues merely by having freedom and pursuant culture?
b. Can the medical practice allow an uneducated person to examine and cure sick people only on premises of freedom and pursuant culture?
c. Can we possibly let anyone enter an operation room and, relying simply on freedom and culture, begin to cut up people's bodies?
d. Is it possible to conceive someone stepping into a gun factory and start to comment on everything, and meddle with any tool he wishes, on the basis that, “I am making use of freedom and pursuant culture, of course? The times when people were deprived of freedom and their desired culture are over. Decadence is forbidden all over the world!”
e. Will there ever be a day when anyone would comment on any scientific or technological matter he wished, and if told, “you are not educated in such issues, so you should not meddle or interfere”, he would retort, “Yes, I am entitled to use my own culture and freedom, for the age of decadent deceptions and forcing people to imprison their thoughts are over!”
f. Culture and freedom are indeed amazing. Consider someone whimsically wearing a decorated military uniform. If he faces protest, can he claim, “Down with the anti-Liberty! Down with the anti-culture!”
Obviously, all of the above-mentioned who carry the book entitled Freedom [8] should be taken to mental asylums.
Now we can move on to the main point: whenever man has considered an issue essential to his survival, he has applied pioneer principles -sciences concerning human relationships, managing labourers to one's own advantage, social leadership, political activities and employing cultures for specific purposes, medicine, surgery, lethal arms and armour and military propaganda -quite successfully, though man's intrinsic progress calls for the truths about his perfectionist growth.
Hence, all the cries for freedom, free pursuant culture and free art! And humanity was degraded back to even before prehistoric ages. The reason why is that cavemen had not confined their potential for progress to their own selfish desires, and had -consciously or unconsciously - begun to activate their talents.
Here are a few examples of the culture of facts demolished in many societies -not because they failed to resist and satisfy man's evolution, but due to selfish rulers making illusive brainwashing using terms like freedom, free culture, free arts and other deceiving magic tricks:
1. Culture as authentic sympathy for our fellow human beings, not a business tool;
2. authentically moral consciences guiding our souls towards the highest goals of life, like a precise compass;
3. culture, the highest aim in life;
4. culture depicting honesty and keeping promise only for its moral desirability, not for making a profit;
5. culture in the form of responsible freedom and just deeds and thoughts;
6. culture as the sacred identity for knowledge;
7. culture in the form of cooperation in making use of various forces, which are blessings;
8. culture as the generalization of constructive, pioneer arts;
9. culture as referring to the media, documented propaganda, avoiding lies and misinterpreting the truth;
10. culture as the highest of cultures, providing all people with their deserving earnings.
Out statement, “Whenever man has followed pioneer systems, he has successfully achieved progress” does not imply that man can evolve progressively by abstracting and adjusting a group of key issues called laws; we mean to state that throughout history, whenever man has made and obeyed laws based on well-prepared information -without the influence of public desires -he has made successful evolution. Thus, in issues concerning science, technology and any matters benefiting man's physical needs or selfish desires, we see man successfully using pioneer culture, whereas in evolving the essence of man -which involves religion and morals -he has totally ignored pioneer culture, and followed cultural phenomena in the name of “following free culture.”

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