Cultures of Contour

Cultivated restrictions


Inherent – inherited – acquired

There are obvious boundaries of human existence, restrictions we are born with and surrounded by, that we can call inherent. Furthermore, there are barriers built and based on the revelations derived from a transcendent source (God). However, most restrictions are man-made, arising from the increasing needs, tend to serve the purposes of the ‘common good’. All the above mentioned can be incorporated into various cultural aspects.

For instance, as nature intended, we have two legs and arms, but we do not posses wings. To overcome this inherent dispossession, mankind invented airplanes, whereby with a vehicle we can fly across the ocean without having wings. This could be just as much exemplified with other ways of transport which were created as a result of inherently physical human restrictions (e.g. slow speed, tiredness, etc.).

In the environment, inherently natural boundaries are the mountains and rivers, and the land encompassed by oceans; the earth that is clearly divided from the sky. As well as the void, the empty space, walls of air can become a restriction in another dimension. On the other hand, inherited man-made physical contours are the buildings, fences, streets and parking lots.

The origins of religious boundaries were descended from God. Further practical applications are agreed by the elderly sages of the community. In Islam we can find examples of these; the Quran is considered to be a divine revelation whilst, the Hadiths are the records of lives, ordinary people who lived accordingly.

However when religious and national cultural elements meet each other, it can result in a rather ambigous relationship. Nowadays, religions are scattered across the globe as an aftermath of migration. Nations can no longer attribute themselves solely to certain practices of worship. Therefore, boundaries are blurred, adaptation to the new climates takes place.

We can often come across scandals in the news, that represents outrageous behaviours of religious groups. Such widespread cases should be approached with awareness of the actual circumstances. Some people according to their appearance can undeniably be associated with a certain religion, however, their daily practices and attitude may not be exclusively ruled by that religion. How one acts may be dependent upon family origins, national customs, social class, and some features may be borrowed from the prevailing religion one belongs to. Religion can even be inherited and acquired from other practitioners, who are humans and imperfect.

Social patterns can be embodied in traditions. Traditions can create bonds. Traditions are ties between people and the material world. Certain ribbons determine ways for the individual, group or nation, of relating to their surroundings. These events can be recreated through generations, however, tradition had once its purpose of existence. If it is only practiced for the sake of mere imitation of the ancestors, the true meaning is lost.

In conclusion, we are restricted by nature, God’s commandment, our society’s norms, our communties’ bonds, and finally by our limitations we impose on ourselves. Whether drawing contours is a necessary procedure, that cannot be avoided; or it is expected to be followed unreasonably; can only be defined by the individual. Each and every situation is distinct, thus requires a different approach for those who seek the reason beyond.


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