What does heritage mean to you?

 
    • [Deleted user] said...
    • User
    • 22 Apr 2008, 05:00

    What does heritage mean to you?

    Do you love your heritage? What is it about it that you love? Why is it that you love it? Is that love related to your personal love of yourself? Or do you love your heritage because you love the society you live in?

    I've been wondering this a lot as I listen to more and more neofolk, folk metal and black metal. It seems that Europeans, especially, place quite a lot of value on their history and their ancestry. It's strange to me, because I can't relate to it at all. My own heritage is something of an embarrassment to me because of the outright nasty things some of my ancestors have done on both my mother's and my father's side. Heritage is something I perhaps unconsciously try to divorce myself from in my daily life-- I think of myself as being me, perhaps a product of the society I grow up in, and perhaps also as a product of my rearing.

    My heritage is half-Portuguese, half-random Northern European, with some German, Welsh and Scottish thrown in, but I don't really think of myself that way at all. I'm an American. But before that, I'm Elizabeth, the human being. I'm not the great-great-great-granddaughter of a slave ship captain (my father's side of the family) or the great-great-great-granddaughter of a slave owner (my mother's side) or the ever-so-distant-many-generations-removed cousin of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I don't see my heritage as something that weakens me or strengthens me. But it is something that annoys me to no end if I think about it too often.

    I get the feeling a lot of members here feel completely differently than I do, and I'm dying of curiosity to find out how, and to understand why.

  • Well, I actually agree with you to a point. While, I wouldn't go as far as saying "I'm embarrassed" by what my ancestors have done, I will say that I take a rather lackadaisical approach to the matter. My parents are both German and so were/are their parents. My heritage is what it is. I had no control over what I am or what they did in the past. Do I beat my chest proudly about the atrocities of WWII? Absolutely not but I will not continue to rake my ancestors over hot coals over what they did. I am a curious person. I find the dark underbelly of societies past and present, intriguing. And this is not limited to Nazi Germany but rather the darker side of humanity throughout history. My intrigue does not look favorable from someone on the outside looking in, I understand this. I just want to know what makes/made these people tick. I do not think they should be glorified and portrayed as "cool." I also do not think I should be responsible for what they did in the past. I am now an American citizen. All I can do is try and be a good person and make sure the wrongs of the past never resurface to the present.

    Dumb Blonde Vicodin Addict with Dual Duties as Part-Time Mohel and Company Butcher @
  • For me personally, heritage is the cultural accruement of past generations, whether it be in your family, your area, or some other group you associate with.

    I also think it's good to take a critical approach towards it, because like all history, it contains both the good and the bad.

    I'm especially interested in the obscurer parts of history and heritage, the ones that don't receive a lot of attention in today's society. For example: folklore from the recent past that is quickly fading away under the onslught of nationalised and globalised culture. Or premodern history.

    The big topics in Dutch history are invariably the Golden Age, which is predominantly remembered as a good period, despite the growing realisation that the Dutch played in important part in the history of slavery and colonial suppression. On the other side of the coin we have WWII, in which the Dutch generally view themselves as either victims or resistance heroes, apart from the National Socialist party, which was 'pure evil', of course. What is often forgotten is that there were many 'normal' people who betrayed their jew or resistance countryfellows, and they weren't necessarily part of any NS party.

    This is an example of how I like to view these things. One the one hand, with admiration for the people who did things I think were right, but on the other hand, you shouldn't close you eyes to the negative aspects, and we should all try to learn from them.

    What I do disagree with, as stated in the group description, is the idea that everything related to love of your own heritage has to do with dangerous ideas of nationalism or even national-socialism and fascism.

    http://www.eveningoflight.nl :: Platform for dark experimental music and alternative culture
    • solnoir said...
    • User
    • 26 Apr 2008, 22:02
    I think regardless of if you like it or not you are a product of your past. To blindly disparage or glorify that past is equally wrong. I am English and there is much in that past to regret but also to celebrate.
    Its music, art, and even cuisine as well as battles and bloodshed.

    • [Deleted user] said...
    • User
    • 4 May 2008, 09:25
    qwallath said:
    For me personally, heritage is the cultural accruement of past generations, whether it be in your family, your area, or some other group you associate with.

    I also think it's good to take a critical approach towards it, because like all history, it contains both the good and the bad.

    I'm especially interested in the obscurer parts of history and heritage, the ones that don't receive a lot of attention in today's society. For example: folklore from the recent past that is quickly fading away under the onslught of nationalised and globalised culture. Or premodern history.
    (...)
    This is an example of how I like to view these things. One the one hand, with admiration for the people who did things I think were right, but on the other hand, you shouldn't close you eyes to the negative aspects, and we should all try to learn from them.

    What I do disagree with, as stated in the group description, is the idea that everything related to love of your own heritage has to do with dangerous ideas of nationalism or even national-socialism and fascism.

    Yes, I agree with that. I coudn't write it better :)

  • I'm chinese american and I don't think really feel that my heritage is a significant part of my identity. from what I can squeeze out of my dad, my family is basically a bunch of victims of political persecution but that's not my war to fight. my own philosophy is that the only thing I should be proud of is of something I personally accomplish, not what I was born as. I can remember all I want, and tell my kids and friends but I don't feel like its a part of me nor should we use it to judge others.

  • I am my ancestors.

    Heritage is upholding the values they and I find meaningful.

    Heritage is genetics, family, and the mystical spirit of union that carries humans forward against the odds.

  • I think heritage is overrated. I'm german (lower saxon), but I also have dutch (frisian) and polish (silesian) ancestors, and my step aunt and her children are romanian.
    Of course you have traditions from your ancestors as well as the region where you grown up, and that is something to be proud of, but it's nothing that should be overrated. Every region has it's traditions, local food, festivities, etc.
    I love the dutch liberal mind, I love polish (silesian) food and friendliness, I love german (lower saxony) food and traditions, I like the way the romanians care about their children and their traditions... But I also developed a love for buddhism, eastern asian traditions, mythology and food as well. I get along very well with italian, turkish, english, dutch, polish, austrian,spanish, greek, jewish, ex-jugoslawian people... We germans often rant about our european neighbours (like probably most european nation does), but deep in our heart we love them for the things where their traditions make them act different.
    But I guess this only a european thing. If you meet someone from america online, then he/she will tell you that he/she is from {place} but their ancestors are traceable back to the mayflower, they have native american roots and ancestors from lots of european countries. If you ask the same to an european (no matter what country) they tell you that they from {place}, maybe later you find out after a lot of talk that he/she lived in other countries too or have ancestors from other
    countries. We europeans love our ancestral traditions, but we also have a strong local patriotism.


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    • cell_44 said...
    • Subscriber
    • 5 Aug 2008, 09:16
    first of all, I think bad past acts are history rather than heritage! I am also reluctant to settle for the definition of cultural heritage as that which you inherit, because it is not yours unless you know about it, and you cannot inherit knowledge. It requires interaction, visiting where you came from, and even getting hold of a document, whether it be a 200 page manuscript of an autobiography or a piece of grass your dad smuggled.
    Cultural heritage is developed through experience. It is not something that can easily be taught..
    In this matter, I`d say I`m a lover of worldly cultural heritage cause I don`t have a feeling of "belonging" for place I was born in.

    • [Deleted user] said...
    • User
    • 9 Aug 2008, 16:20
    NocnikStargazer said:
    qwallath said:
    For me personally, heritage is the cultural accruement of past generations, whether it be in your family, your area, or some other group you associate with.

    I also think it's good to take a critical approach towards it, because like all history, it contains both the good and the bad.

    I'm especially interested in the obscurer parts of history and heritage, the ones that don't receive a lot of attention in today's society. For example: folklore from the recent past that is quickly fading away under the onslught of nationalised and globalised culture. Or premodern history.
    (...)
    This is an example of how I like to view these things. One the one hand, with admiration for the people who did things I think were right, but on the other hand, you shouldn't close you eyes to the negative aspects, and we should all try to learn from them.

    What I do disagree with, as stated in the group description, is the idea that everything related to love of your own heritage has to do with dangerous ideas of nationalism or even national-socialism and fascism.

    Yes, I agree with that. I coudn't write it better :)


    Seconded. For me, heritage is a sense of 'place' - a feeling for your roots, 'a sense of history' as New Model Army put it. Its something that seems to be often lost under the constant onslaught of consumerist demands, MTV bollocks, and media dumbing down. I think you can see that as important and valuable without all the racist bullshit.

  • besides curiosity / inspiration, i really don't think it's of any relevance., it's overrated.
    I like to discover things about my past family members, ancient cultures... not just from Portugal, but many parts of the world.

    chapeleirolouco
    • [Deleted user] said...
    • User
    • 3 Nov 2008, 15:37
    We are what we are now.
    all ur family and all u have done till this moment u re reading this means nothing.
    For that reason i like to see the past....see how all where "magic".

  • Interesting subject... As a person with multinational/milticultural origins and as an emigrant I do not think that my heritage - in a wider sense of this word - could define me. Am I spanish? french? integrated german? Am I becoming Austrian or even Slovene? I'm not saying that the past is not important - this would be stupid, since I am an historian - but I do not think that heritage could define a person unless this peron is so simple and manipulable, and in such a need to belong to a comunity, that he or she would accept the idea of one heritage as a whole to define he or herself. For example: I could neither be proud of the cultural achievements of Spaniards in America neither can I feel ashamed by the horrors commited towards indigenous population. I can only fell shame or pride for something I have done by miself - and being born somewhere in a moment of history is neither a chice nor an achievement. To understand what we call heritage can satisfy my curiousity and help me understand the mechanisms of history - and maybe would I like or dislike some aspects of it from my subjective point of view - but it couldn't prossibly define me.

    NIHIL ABSOLUTUM!
    • [Deleted user] said...
    • User
    • 4 Nov 2008, 11:53
    but I do not think that heritage could define a person unless this peron is so simple and manipulable

    Totally according to your words, but i just like to study past history...(i really dont "care" my directly descendence.....just to see what we all where someday....)


    P.D: +1 to Numantikon
    ""spaniard is not despective???""

  • Is "spaniard" despective? Maybe. I just think it sounds better than spanish, and it makes it clear for people from the USA that I come from Spain (Europe), and not from the center or the south of America. I do not care if it is despective: it's like some gay friends of mine using "schwuchtel" -german- or "maricón" -spanish- to describe themselves. Both expressions mean something like "faggot". Or also like blak people using "nigger". An insult can be used by miorities to describe their identity in a positive way...

    History is always fascinating. It helps to understand the way humanity functions. I am more an expert in modern history (19th and 20th centuries) but I can understand perfectly why people tend to love medieval or antique History. the only problem is that some of them see this ages with a romantic perspective, wich is actually bullshit most of the times.

    NIHIL ABSOLUTUM!
    • [Deleted user] said...
    • User
    • 4 Nov 2008, 15:54
    no no im not romantic, i just have curiosity about all cultures i care the the paralelisms between all cultures around mine.
    and i`m agree, nowadays the "history" and exactly "pagan history" are suffering the merchandasing of some freaks who doesn t know nothing about anything.

  • JOllyROger: By speaking about this stupid romanticism I wasn't speaking about you. And, yes, some freaks can not tear a line between historical fact, romantic occult theories of the 19th century, Tolkien and the works of some barbarian-new-age-nazi pseudoscientifical autors. I'm fed up with this people who thing they know about the meaning of some symbols for which there is no real historical source. Even worse - I posted allready a sentence about this in another tread - are those who speak about this "Black Sun"-symbol as an ancient one. It is actually an SS design, and not more "ancient" as from the 1930s! This is a problem with so called heritage: most of what people use to consider their heritage are constructs of the romanticism/nationalism from the 19th century or even newer.

    NIHIL ABSOLUTUM!
    • opher79 said...
    • User
    • 25 Nov 2008, 17:58
    This thread made me think of a tape I have stashed away that I haven't listened to in years. It's a tape of a distant relative (lets call her an Aunt) that my Dad recorded of this Aunt when she was 90 something of her singing these great Appalachian Folk Ballads. With no hesitation in a couple of them she sings "Nigger" because this is how she was taught the tunes. When I first heard the tape I couldn't help flinching. The same tunes are still sung, but with the the lyrics changed to something like "colored boy" (still not 100% PC).

    For me this side of my heritage, even though I was raised in Pennsylvania is special to me. I want to listen to that tape again now to remind myself. Growing up I always looked forward to going to North Carolina to hike over to the Mountain that was named after my Great Great Great grandfather, with my Dad.

    On both sides opf my family I have a lot of Irish heritage which I was always proud of, but which I found lessened a little once I knew I had been to Ireland.

  • I agree with the post by Numantikon, it is hard to distinguish fact from romanticised fiction when trying to understand thousands of years of history.
    Despite that, I am proud of my heritage - and by that, I mean what we know about the values, customs, art, skills, and connection to nature which my ancestors had. (Northern European) Remembering and not letting go of what the modern period has destroyed, is enough to equate to pride in my opinion.

    Of course pride in your heritage does not mean you have feel any superiority. One should be proud of their own roots, but also be rational and critical.

  • I appreciate my heritage, but I'm not sure if "proud" is the correct term.
    You could say I'm proud of my cultural heritage, but not at all proud of anything as artificial as my country or skin color.

  • I'm proud of my heritage aside of what it is, If I were of another heritage I would be as proud as I'm of mine because I think being proud of your heritage is just a part of being proud of yourself. Of course this is a conservative opinion, because many people decide to alter many aspects of their heritage (tradition, religion, etc) or just ignore it as the machine rolls on and they aren't more or less than others because of this.

  • For me, heritage is family and doesn't much go beyond that. I feel no pride towards my heritage, because IMO the only thing one can be proud of is what one has forged with his/her own hands. Everything else is other people's work for which one has no right to take credit, that's what I believe.

    That is not to say that I admire the work of my forefather's, of course I do and of course I relate to that, but I feel no pride as what my grandfather did was his work, not mine. Furthermore, I feel nothing towards my national heritage, because I can associate as little with a fellow Swede I've never met as from some random guy in South Africa. What I associate with are the places I consider my homes, Sölvesborg in Sweden and Budapest in Hungary, and those I associate with are my friends and family. Everything else is only interesting, perhaps admirable, but I feel nothing toward it on a personal revel.

    Ultimately, I guess I've a difficulty tying myself to specific national identity because I'm a mutt. My heritage is really just a mix of people from different parts of Eurasia, so even so I feel like a Hungarian, I feel I'm not wholly Hungarian, just as I can feel Swedish, Persian or Iraq, but never wholly Swedish, Persian or Iraqi. I'm part of all of those things, but none of them define me in their entirety by themselves. For me, committing myself completely to one ethnic identity is impossible, because I always feel that some part of me is not what that identity is defined as.

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    Edited by hjbardenhagen on 16 Jul 2011, 12:02
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