The word tradition comes from the
Latintraditionem, acc. of "traditio" which means "a giving up, delivering up, surrendering"Fact|date|date=July 2008, and is used in a number of ways in the English language:
# Beliefs or customs taught by one generation to the next, often orally. For example, we can speak of the tradition of sending birth announcements.
# A set of customs or practices. For example, we can speak of
# A broad religious movement made up of
religious denominations or church bodies that have a common history, customs, culture, and, to some extent, body of teachings. For example, one can speak of Islam's Sufitradition or Christianity's Lutherantradition.
However, on a more basic theoretical level, tradition(s) can be seen as information or composed of
information. For that which is brought into the present from the past, in a particular societal context, is information. This is even more fundamental than particular acts or practices even if repeated over a long sequence of time.
Traditions and stylings of the mannerism
Olin Levi Warner, "Tradition" (1895). Bronze tympanumover the main entrance, Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.]
A tradition practice , custom, or
storythat is memorized and passed down from generation to generation, originally without the need for a writing system. Tools to aid this process include poetic devices such as rhymeand alliteration. The stories thus preserved are also referred to as tradition, or as part of an oral tradition.Or|date=May 2008
Tradition is a knowledge system (a means of transferring knowledge). Economists
Friedrich Hayekand Thomas Sowellexplain that tradition is an economically efficient way to transfer and obtain knowledgeof all kinds. Sowell, for example, notes that decision-making consumes time (a valuable resource), and cultural traditions offer a rich, low-cost, consensually authenticated way to economize on the resources required to make decisions independently. [See "Knowledge and Decisions," Thomas Sowell, chapter 4 Chemist and philosopher Michael Polanyiargues that the importance of tradition stems precisely from the fact that we know more than we can articulate, and that we amass and communicate valuable knowledge through tradition, often without conscious awarenessof all the factors that influenced the development of traditions.] [See "Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy," Michael Polanyi]
Traditions are often presumed to be
ancient, unalterable, and deeply important, though they may sometimes be much less "natural" than is presumed. Some traditions were deliberately invented for one reason or another, often to highlight or enhance the importance of a certain institution.Traditions may also be changed to suit the needs of the day, and the changes can become accepted as a part of the ancient tradition. A famous book on the subject is " The Invention of Tradition", edited by Eric Hobsbawmand Terence Ranger.Or|date=May 2008
Some examples include "the invention of tradition" in
Africaand other colonial holdings by the occupying forces. Requiring legitimacy, the colonial power would often invent a "tradition" which they could use to legitimize their own position. For example, a certain succession to a chiefdom might be recognized by a colonial power as traditional in order to favour their own candidates for the job. Often these inventions were based in some form of tradition, but were grossly exaggerated, distorted, or biased toward a particular interpretation.
The idea of tradition is important in philosophy. 20th century and Contemporary
Western philosophyis often divided between an "analytic" tradition, dominant in Anglophone and Scandinavian countries, and a "Continental" tradition, dominant in German and Romance-speaking Europe.
Roman Catholic Church, traditionalism is the doctrinethat Sacred Traditionholds equal authority to Holy Scripture. In the Orthodox Church, scripture is considered to be the core constituent of a larger tradition. These views are often condemned as hereticalby Protestantchurches, who hold the Bibleto be the only valid tradition. Inspired by the Protestant rejection of tradition, the Age of Enlightenmentbegan to consider even the Bible itself as a questionable tradition. The parentage of liberalism stems from this such attack on accepted notions of European traditional institutions, religious belligerence, state interference and aristocratic privilege.
"Traditionalism" may also refer to the concept of a fundamental human tradition present in all orthodox religions and traditional forms of society. This view is put forward by the
Traditionalist School. Traditionalist Catholicrefers to those, such as Archbishop Lefebvre, who want the worship and practices of the church to be as they were before the Second Vatican Council( 1962- 1965).
"Radical Traditionalism" refers to a worldview that stresses a return to traditional values of hard work, craftsmanship, local culture, tribal or clan orientation, and non-material values in response to a perceived excess of materialism, consumerism, technology, and societal
homogeneity. Most Radical Traditionalists choose this term for themselves to stress their reaction to 'modern' society, as well as an equal disdain for more 'recent' forms of traditionalism based on Judeo-Christian and early-Industrial Age values. It is often allied with branches of Paganism that stress a return to old cultural values that predated the existence of the state system.
In Islam, traditionalism is the orthodox form, which places importance on traditional forms of learning and acknowledges different traditional schools of thought.
Rejection of tradition
Destruction is part of nature according to the German philosopher
Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche claims that entities that reinterpret the world again and again are strong. That way sorrow and loss which is linked to trying to keep tradition can be avoided. Nietzsche wants his readers to open up and accept nature as it is in all its manyfold appearances. In order to be able to interpret nature it is mandatory to imagine. It is weak to claim that your imagination is the only truth. That could get you destroyed. A strong person is someone who is ready to change in order to avoid self-destruction.
*Sacred Tradition (Roman Catholic)
Traditional Chinese character
*Traditional counties of the British Isles
List of Pagan traditions
* [http://www.witchvox.com/_x.html?c=trads Pagan traditions]
Comparison / Contrast
* Native American
* Haida Culture
Citations and notes
* Sowell, T (1980) "Knowledge and Decisions" Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-003738-0
* Polanyi, M (1964) "Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy" ISBN 0-226-67288-3
* Klein, Ernest, Dr., A comprehensive etymological dictionary of the English language: Dealing with the origin of words and their sense development thus illustrating the history and civilization of culture, Elsevier, Oxford, 7th ed., 2000
* [http://www.path-work.info/pathwork/tradition Pathwork lecture about religious tradition]
* [http://www.dvdideas.com/index.asp?KeyId=141 Movies where Tradition is the main theme]
* [http://www.cafetraditions.com Online community for cataloging, creating and exchanging traditions]
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