After reading about Easter Island by Jared Diamond, it got me pondering this idea of tradition and its values. I continuously saw the importance of tradition for the inhabitants of Easter Island and for those who sought the truth of what happened there and questions of what that island and people were really like. For instance, the inhabitants of Easter Island had traditions in cremation, architecture, naming their chief and of course the moai and ahu (the giant statues and their platforms). We can know that these were important or simply ancient traditions carried on by Easter’s inhabitants from the mere fact that we have evidence of their continual occurrences and previous histories. As for the importance of traditions for those who observed and are observing Easter Island’s history, tradition has unlocked many mysteries and given knowledge of truth in discovering its history.
And……what’s your point about traditions you ask?
Well….after reading about all these traditions and the practical, helpful, or just fun services they accomplished, I couldn’t help but think about the traditions in my own life and family. I love my traditions and their different meanings and origins just as the inhabitants of Easter Island seemed to. However, we must not forget what happened to Easter Island and its inhabitants, deforestation and devastation, and BOOM they were gone! Though proof of these results can be largely attributed to Easter’s climate and other problems, I can’t help but wonder…if they altered or disregarded their traditions, could a different outcome have come about? Did their traditions allow them to ignore the deforestation problem or the food supply? Were those traditions, carried out by Easter’s inhabitants, more relevant to other future generations than just verifying history of a collapsed society?
Now only one question was glaring me in the face regarding my own life, how do I keep my traditions yet stay creative and innovative so not to “collapse”? No, we cannot simply throw away our traditions because as seen with Easter Island, traditions did serve good purposes. For instance, just look at those statues and still being talked about today, or how about those chicken houses, and look how much tradition has revealed about their own and other’s history. So no, do not get rid of traditions, instead what if we looked at traditions from another perspective. What if traditions were viewed as foundational? Then, we could have the freedom to be creative and innovative with our traditions within the confines of its foundation. This way a tradition is still a tradition but can have the capability of adapting to new environments, societies, or future generations. Let’s be constructive for future generations, even down to maybe the “smallest” tradition, for instance, gathering in the living room with the family to read a story on Christmas day.
Traditions can be very fun and excited, even refreshing. What would our world be like without traditions? Everywhere you look there is a tradition lurking around a corner, giving life to all humans, but let’s not get caught up in traditional ways to die before our time.
Now I am left to have my fun exploring all the different creative variations that traditions can form to make us flourish.