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 Post subject: How to Create Culture
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 6:57 pm 
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Yes, I'm creating a sibling thread to How to Create History.

Culture, one of my favorite topics. ^_^ How do everyone create their races/countries' cultures? I tend to follow a pattern already naturally developed by the countries of earth, such as China, Japan, or Egypt. But how do you create culture?

Thoughts?

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 Post subject: Re: How to Create Culture
PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:44 pm 
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For my main culture, I mostly go with "what I think the ideal culture would be like" (as well as "how culture would develop given these historical constraints," etc.). But for others I try to come up with a few essential principles (sometimes working backward from a trope to an alternate cause---my dwarves are great miners because for them it's cheaper to build libraries underground, for example) and work out the implications from there.

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 Post subject: Re: How to Create Culture
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:25 pm 
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I'm trying to learn as much as I can about the subtle differences between cultures and go from there. I haven't had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in other cultures, so whenever any of my professors says something that I think I can use I try and write it down. It's not just about what different cultures do, a huge part of it is how they think.

Here's a link talking about some stuff about international communication in business that I found really helpful. :D
http://www.analytictech.com/mb021/cultural.htm

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 Post subject: Re: How to Create Culture
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:36 pm 
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Vivace Kondrael wrote:
I tend to follow a pattern already naturally developed by the countries of earth, such as China, Japan, or Egypt


I think I tend to do that too, V.

I think it's great to think outside of the box as well, and try to create new and unique cultures. I find it hard though, I guess.

Thanks for the link, Kylie.

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 Post subject: Re: How to Create Culture
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:45 pm 
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For me, creating culture always goes hand-in-hand with creating history. I generally end up writing about the history of a nation/region first before I do culture since a lot of times I find that the culture of a place is very directly tied to the history of where it's been and why it's gotten to this place. Anyways, that's my 2 cents on this...

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 Post subject: Re: How to Create Culture
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:34 am 
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Ahh… *sighs* the bane of my existence. Anyone care to help?

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 Post subject: Re: How to Create Culture
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:11 am 
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I listened to a podcast called Reading Fantasy as Literature and got some good ideas from the world building mini series. For my story I'm taking a page from Tolkien and using cultures that have existed in the past and use them as ground work base my own cultures off of.


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 Post subject: Re: How to Create Culture
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:51 pm 
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There is lots I try to do in creating cultures but I won't go into that as much smarter people have already written lots about it.
What I try to ask myself as I create a culture is:
1.Where they came from? (Who were these people's ancestors? Why do they live here? What brought them together as a culture?)
2.What are the natural resources? (Do they live where it's cold? Do they have access to iron? Is there plenty of food?)
3.Who are their neighbors? (Are their neighbors friendly? Are they of the same race? Are they powerful?)

If you ask these questions it will help a lot as you go about trying to figure out their characteristics.

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 Post subject: Re: How to Create Culture
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:14 am 
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Thank you very much. :D

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 Post subject: Re: How to Create Culture
PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:24 pm 
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Yehoshua Mimetes wrote:
There is lots I try to do in creating cultures but I won't go into that as much smarter people have already written lots about it.
What I try to ask myself as I create a culture is:
1.Where they came from? (Who were these people's ancestors? Why do they live here? What brought them together as a culture?)
2.What are the natural resources? (Do they live where it's cold? Do they have access to iron? Is there plenty of food?)
3.Who are their neighbors? (Are their neighbors friendly? Are they of the same race? Are they powerful?)

If you ask these questions it will help a lot as you go about trying to figure out their characteristics.

Awesome! Those three are actually three of the sections that I look at in the first stage of my culture fractalling system (which I really need to get back to). Always nice to see that I'm not the only one who thinks of these things! :D

As for borrowing from our cultures, please be mindful of geography when doing so. Some how I don't think an oriental style culture would be believable in an arctic environment. Kimonos just ain't gonna cut it. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: How to Create Culture
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:30 am 
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One thing that struck me during my Chinese history class was that many of the underlying principles of Confucianism were the same as the principles of the West. What was different was the way they were expressed.

The professor in that class pushed the theory that what drove those differences is primarily rooted in geography - she said that one couldn't understand Chinese culture and history until one understood Chinese geography.

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 Post subject: Re: How to Create Culture
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 5:04 am 
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Resha Caner wrote:
One thing that struck me during my Chinese history class was that many of the underlying principles of Confucianism were the same as the principles of the West. What was different was the way they were expressed.

The professor in that class pushed the theory that what drove those differences is primarily rooted in geography - she said that one couldn't understand Chinese culture and history until one understood Chinese geography.
Interesting point. I'm actually reading a book right now that tries to trace the history of how civilizations/cultures developed over time and why some were able to develop quicker or to a greater extent than others and the author's main premise seems to be that geography was the largest determining factor.

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 Post subject: Re: How to Create Culture
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:43 pm 
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Mimetes the Seer wrote:
Interesting point. I'm actually reading a book right now that tries to trace the history of how civilizations/cultures developed over time and why some were able to develop quicker or to a greater extent than others and the author's main premise seems to be that geography was the largest determining factor.


I can believe geography is an important mechanism and is important to what distinguishes civilizations, but I would say Providence is the largest determining factor for development. God didn't lead his chosen people to settle in Tibet. He settled them at the most important crossroads history has known.

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 Post subject: Re: How to Create Culture
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:27 am 
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Mimetes the Seer wrote:
I'm actually reading a book right now that tries to trace the history of how civilizations/cultures developed over time and why some were able to develop quicker or to a greater extent than others and the author's main premise seems to be that geography was the largest determining factor.

I got a similar impression---that geography was a very major, and perhaps the most significant, factor in especially the early development of cultures---from my college history course (a few years ago). For example, I seem to recall that the major factor in whether a Chinese regional government (i.e. dynasty in those periods) stood or fell was whether it could control the river's flooding.

Resha Caner wrote:
I can believe geography is an important mechanism and is important to what distinguishes civilizations, but I would say Providence is the largest determining factor for development.

Except for a very few specific instances having to do with the nation of Israel in the Old Testament period, that's a matter of perspective---just as we can say that a character in a novel develops in a certain way because of certain events she goes through in the course of the story, or because the author wrote her that way. Or we can explain discrepancies between various Sherlock Holmes stories as errors on Watson's part or on Doyle's part (and hence the terms used in a mailing list I used to lurk on, "Watsonian" and "Doylist").
Resha Caner wrote:
God didn't lead his chosen people to settle in Tibet. He settled them at the most important crossroads history has known.

Yes. Even in those instances where God intervened miraculously at a national level (the Exodus, the mass death of the Assyrian army outside Jerusalem, etc.), geography was still vitally important.

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 Post subject: Re: How to Create Culture
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 4:21 pm 
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kingjon wrote:
Even in those instances where God intervened miraculously at a national level (the Exodus, the mass death of the Assyrian army outside Jerusalem, etc.), geography was still vitally important.


Maybe it's a subtle thing, but I'm trying to spin it the other way. Who created that geography and who chose that stage? God.

kingjon wrote:
Except for a very few specific instances having to do with the nation of Israel in the Old Testament period, that's a matter of perspective---


Maybe, but I think it's a very Christian perspective.

I see God's hand in all of history, not just the explicit Biblical accounts. I have some personal opinions about extra-Biblical events and God's hand in them, but they are just opinions. I don't claim to know for sure the role God played.

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 Post subject: Re: How to Create Culture
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:13 pm 
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Resha Caner wrote:
kingjon wrote:
Except for a very few specific instances having to do with the nation of Israel in the Old Testament period, that's a matter of perspective---

Maybe, but I think it's a very Christian perspective.

Let me try to make my point another way ...

For nearly every "why" question that science, history, and the like try to answer, there is a completely true answer essentially identical to "because God made it that way." Yet that is almost never the only true answer. So we need to steer clear of two equally dangerous errors of perspective: that "God made it that way" is always the sufficient answer and we should never look for more immediate or temporal or proximate causes, and that God's action is never the most relevantly proximate and immediate cause.

Which perspective on things we ought to use depends on our purpose---why we're looking at things. Seeing all things as coming from the hand of God is essential for the purpose of our spiritual life, but it's less useful, for example, when we're looking at the history that God has written to develop our craft as subcreators.

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 Post subject: Re: How to Create Culture
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 11:20 pm 
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kingjon wrote:
For nearly every "why" question that science, history, and the like try to answer, there is a completely true answer essentially identical to "because God made it that way." Yet that is almost never the only true answer. So we need to steer clear of two equally dangerous errors of perspective: that "God made it that way" is always the sufficient answer and we should never look for more immediate or temporal or proximate causes, and that God's action is never the most relevantly proximate and immediate cause.

Which perspective on things we ought to use depends on our purpose---why we're looking at things. Seeing all things as coming from the hand of God is essential for the purpose of our spiritual life, but it's less useful, for example, when we're looking at the history that God has written to develop our craft as subcreators.


I understand your point, I just disagree. Unbelievers call your objection "goddidit", or in literature it's called deus ex machina.

The thing is, I don't see "sciencedidit" or "naturedidit" as any better. And that's not really my point. I'm picking at a naturalism that appears to underlie what you're saying. Maybe we're just new acquaintances working through understanding each other, but that is how it comes across to me.

God has, of course, given us free will. And angels & demons have a will as well. So, God can cause things, the spirits can cause things, and we can cause things. But nature (and/or science) does not have a will. Nature doesn't cause things. I'm not a proponent of the "blind watchmaker" idea.

With that said, I would agree with you if you're talking about secondary means. If, for every leaf that falls from the tree, every blade of grass that blows in the wind, I were to point and say, "God did it," I would agree with you that is ridiculous. God has appointed physical laws to dictate how the world works, and since he keeps his promises, we can be sure those laws will be in place until the end. So, I'm OK with pointing to those laws an an explanatory means of what happens. I'm just trying to emphasize that they are not an end in themselves. Nor do I think science has uncovered the complete truth of those laws.

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 Post subject: Re: How to Create Culture
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:53 am 
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Resha Caner wrote:
kingjon wrote:
For nearly every "why" question that science, history, and the like try to answer, there is a completely true answer essentially identical to "because God made it that way." Yet that is almost never the only true answer. So we need to steer clear of two equally dangerous errors of perspective: that "God made it that way" is always the sufficient answer and we should never look for more immediate or temporal or proximate causes, and that God's action is never the most relevantly proximate and immediate cause.

Which perspective on things we ought to use depends on our purpose---why we're looking at things. Seeing all things as coming from the hand of God is essential for the purpose of our spiritual life, but it's less useful, for example, when we're looking at the history that God has written to develop our craft as subcreators.


I understand your point, I just disagree. Unbelievers call your objection "goddidit", or in literature it's called deus ex machina.

The thing is, I don't see "sciencedidit" or "naturedidit" as any better. And that's not really my point. I'm picking at a naturalism that appears to underlie what you're saying. Maybe we're just new acquaintances working through understanding each other, but that is how it comes across to me.

I'm not objecting to the explanation that gives all credit and glory to God (note that I said that they're completely true), but (inasmuch as I'm objecting to anything) to using them as the sole or primary lens.

I'm somewhat worried at how you get full-blown philosophical naturalism out of what I said, though, since that was one of the two extremes (i.e. errors) I explicitly said we need to make sure to steer clear of.

Resha Caner wrote:
God has, of course, given us free will. And angels & demons have a will as well. So, God can cause things, the spirits can cause things, and we can cause things. But nature (and/or science) does not have a will. Nature doesn't cause things. I'm not a proponent of the "blind watchmaker" idea.

Neither am I. :) As should have been abundantly clear from what I said ... if it wasn't, what muddled things?

Resha Caner wrote:
With that said, I would agree with you if you're talking about secondary means. If, for every leaf that falls from the tree, every blade of grass that blows in the wind, I were to point and say, "God did it," I would agree with you that is ridiculous. God has appointed physical laws to dictate how the world works, and since he keeps his promises, we can be sure those laws will be in place until the end. So, I'm OK with pointing to those laws an an explanatory means of what happens. I'm just trying to emphasize that they are not an end in themselves. Nor do I think science has uncovered the complete truth of those laws.

My point is that which set of causes and and "means" we ought to look at depends on our purpose for which and the context in which we're looking---and for the purpose of gaining insights for the (sub)creation of fictional cultures to write about, looking only for the hand of God in everything doesn't seem to be particularly helpful, except for the sort of things Seer talks about in his thread on "Theological Insights for Race Creation."

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My blog includes the following "departments":
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  • Strategic Primer, a strategy game I'm developing, played by email, assisted by programs I'm developing. The current campaign (moving slowly, less than one turn a month) always needs more players.
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 Post subject: Re: How to Create Culture
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:08 pm 
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kingjon wrote:
I'm not objecting to the explanation that gives all credit and glory to God (note that I said that they're completely true), but (inasmuch as I'm objecting to anything) to using them as the sole or primary lens.


Don't worry. It just took awhile for us to connect. I like the phrase in bold. I can accept that phrasing.

kingjon wrote:
My point is that which set of causes and and "means" we ought to look at depends on our purpose for which and the context in which we're looking---and for the purpose of gaining insights for the (sub)creation of fictional cultures to write about, looking only for the hand of God in everything doesn't seem to be particularly helpful, except for the sort of things Seer talks about in his thread on "Theological Insights for Race Creation."


I get your point now, and I'm with you.

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