Happy August Mythopoeians!
First, we have a major announcement! Websites are important for those, right? In any case, we are launching our next Kickstarter for Skies of Fire #7 tomorrow, August 4th, 2020 @ 8:00 AM PST.
Okay, onwards to other topics! What should we talk about today? How about... culture?
This is another conversation sparked by the excellent Glendale Story Games Meetup, of which I've been a regular part of since the beginning of the year, but is a topic I've thought about often in the past.
Why are some schools good at certain activities, like football or Speech and Debate? Why are some companies known for certain characteristics, like Amazon with logistics or Apple and design? How much of these aspects are inherent as a result of talent, and how much is transferred via culture?
The above definition implies a tangible quality to culture - things of permanence that can be viewed, transcribed, consumed, and experienced. Certainly these aspects are a major part of what culture is as a whole; I personally think of art, music, and food (in that order) when I think about the word. But what about the intangible? Can you learn a culture just by consuming?
It seems to me that culture is something that needs to be experienced and fostered in order to be sustained. While we can prescribe rules, recipes, music, and media that showcases or instructs culture, those things are not in and of themselves able to replicate culture in a vacuum. There's an intangible quality to the word, one that strikes to the spoken tradition of communication that binds us generationally as human beings in the absence of technology.
Culture is sticky. It's everywhere and has inertia. To change culture is as difficult as changing who we fundamentally are. The qualities of culture are contagious, absorbed by the people who make up an organization or society. Habits are transferred through prescribed and understood means and norms. The dominant football team tends to be dominant year in and year out because the expectations set forth by the players and coaches reinforces a culture of dominance. Breaking the cycle one way or another takes exponentially more work than sustaining what already is there.
Culture is both visible and invisible. To the extent that we consume and transfer culture via materials, it is manifested in processes, objects, sounds, tastes, and things. To the extent that culture is connected by those same materials, it is living thought maintained by the collective consciousness of its observers and participants.
Culture is everything. What allows us to build beyond ourselves, to make great work and to communally rise above our own limitations. Talent may be innate, but culture is developed. Throughout every culture it is the leaders - the elders, the CEOs, the coaches, the captains - that sustain culture, demanding adherence in reverence to tradition.
What is the culture at Mythopoeia? Well, I can honestly say we give it our all. We try really hard on our projects and try to consider every aspect to the full extent of our abilities. Hopefully that shows. Sometimes, the compromise is time. We're slow. That's part of our culture too. One that we're trying to change, but it's hard. Habits are hard to break, momentum difficult to gain.
Slowly but surely, up the hill, until one day we can see it roll back down, with inertia all its own.
Onwards and Upwards!