Adaptation

All creatures must adapt to their physical surroundings.  Trees in a moist area will spread their roots wide, while trees in a dry area spread them deep.  Certain fish or reptiles can change the color of their skin to blend in with nature.  Humans with all their knowledge were once forced to build shelters out of the materials they had available regardless of viability, and learn how to eat the plants and animals of the region regardless of convenience.  Even today, with a global economy of resources, manufacturing, and storage, mankind is forced to adapt when a late frost kills crops, or when workers go on strike, or when a source of energy runs dry.  But now, the adaptation is price.  Due to the said global economy, it is very unlikely that any natural resource or commercial good would be completely unavailable.  But the rarer it is, the more it will cost to obtain it, and for humans, everything starts and ends with money.  Money has become the “unnatural resource” that humans need to survive.  And for every human there is a red line of cost where they will refuse to obtain something they need, or even want, and the closer they get to that red line the less inclined they are to obtain it in the first place.  They will adapt to their surroundings, and settle for a lesser product to fulfill their needs rather than impoverish themselves for what they have grown accustomed to.

And then there is human culture.

Human culture is different: it does not HAVE to adapt to its surroundings.  It may, and it often does, but it is not forced to in order to survive.  A people devoted to their individual culture can keep it intact even when shoved against dissimilar cultures nearby; a minor inconvenience if the opposing culture is not understanding, but manageable all the same.  This situation illustrates a point:  there is no true “right” culture or “wrong” culture, only different cultures with different modes of survival and different ideals to be strived for.  Let this general statement be tempered with a more specific exception, however:  there are certain types of cultures who strive, knowingly or unknowingly, to destroy other cultures or even to destroy themselves.  And when the existence of a culture is threatened, then survival DOES become a factor, and a culture MUST adapt to its surroundings, whether that means reacting and defending itself against an external culture physically, or altering its ideals so that the cultural clash is no longer a threat of impending doom.

{This was going to be something else, but then I ended up continuing this and never writing the something else.}

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