Cultural Preservation vs Cultural Fermentation
The Japanese art of regenerative living
Cultural preservation is recognizing cultural practices and technique as it was done at its inception or prime, and performing the manner today.
Cultural fermentation on the other hand is recognizing cultural practices and technique as it was done at its inception or prime, and enjoying its evolution across time.
Both are valuable. It simply depends on the who, what, when, where, and why.
From what I have personally seen and experienced, cultural preservation requires perfect circumstance, such as environment and finances. Cultural fermentation has a much lower barrier to entry, as it celebrates our ever evolving circumstance. What are the tastes, smells, sights, sounds, and feelings of now? And how does the cultural practice or technique get woven into our today?
I am not sure that the fathers and mothers of tea ceremony or lacquerware, miso-making or rice farming, intended any of their practices and techniques to be copied and pasted for all of time. I suspect they were creating the finest, most fun, highest quality art and technology that is in alignment to their circumstance.
The microseasonal calendar always reminds us that time is simultaneously cyclical and ever-changing. Our appreciation and need for cultural practices and technique also ride the same rhythm.
It’s when creative license is used without securing core fundamentals that things can go awry. We end up with a sloppy mess of superficial and defective practices and technique. But if the core fundamentals, whether ingredients or intention are fully understood, then circumstance or personality can certainly play in the editing process. It’s the bubbly, fizzy fermentation of culture.