One of the key things to understand about culture is that we make it. It’s a set of “day- to-day living patterns” that makeup “mankind's primary adaptive mechanism”, according to Louise Damen, and is a way of “responding to the social realities” says John Lederach. I would define culture as the way we, as a group, collectively choose to act. Its not something set in stone handed down from our ancestors. We inherit a lot of cultural input from what came before of course, but it doesn't stop there.
More than that, culture is essentially the rules we agree upon for an easy life. We don't need to debate how we eat every meal time, because everyone agrees sitting down on a chair at a table is a good idea (from a Western perspective at least). Without even needing to think about it, we do something that everyone (again without thinking about it) agrees is sensible.
Therefore, when we decide we want to live in a different way, developing a new culture to support us in that life style is a priority. Having a culture of loneeating will help us navigate the treacherous waters of eating alone. Right now, with no collective decisions, every meal time is a cause of debate, do I eat in front of the TV? Should I eat at the table? Should I try out those new ideas I found on the Loneeaters blog and eat on the floor?
It's important to ask questions like that in the beginning, but it would be exhausting and unsustainable to do it forever. At Loneeaters we encourage everyone to examine their loneeating habits, because we collectively need to gather information to answer the big question: how should we eat when we eat alone? That will form the basis of loneeating culture. But once we have a loneeating culture in place, things should become easier, we'll get our unconscious guide to an easy life back.
Society is bound to keep on changing though, so we can never really stop questioning. We need to remain nimble in our loneeating culture to respond and ensure we are always supporting ourself and the rest of society in the best possible way. It's culture in hyperdrive really. Clearly, we cannot rely on the big engine of culture to change fast enough to response to shifts in society. The lack of a loneeating culture and prevalence of eating alone prove that. Society is changing so fast we need to keep actively adjusting our culture to respond.
Culture is like a comforting, guiding power in our life, but we must be constantly kicking it into shape to make sure it works for us.
What do you think loneeating culture is? or should be? Do you think it’s right to take such an active role in creating culture? Or do you think we should leave it to happen by itself? Do you think its even possible to steer culture in a new directions?