Join Date: Jan 2005
Yes, we can set an example, we can try to influence, we can try to teach, and we can start with our children as soon as they begin to understand, but have you noticed that the members of each new generation invariably know more, and are wiser than their parents?
Perhaps in a rural, or a village situation, the traditional Javanese heirarchy may still survive, but in the towns and cities, there is little use for heirarchically structured language. Bahasa daerah may be taught in SMP, but the teaching of Krama Inggil , or Madya, remains a family thing, and time spent on learning this can seem to be time wasted in today's ultra competitive environment. Some of the non essential trappings of culture can hardly compete with the necessity to earn a living.
Theory and practice.....
When I wrote:-
"unless those of us who do maintain an interest in Javanese culture, take a serious and studious approach to the preservation of that culture, eventually the unique features of the culture will be forgotten."
I was writing emotionally, rather than logically. As we grow older I believe many of us become conservative in the way in which we view the world that is passing from us, and we tend to regret that things are not able to stay forever as we have known them.Change, and new ways seem to be foriegn to us and to lack the integrity of the ways with which we are familiar.The ways in which a society handles the problems which face it must change in order to allow the society to cope with the changing world around it, just as the ways of the individual members of a society must change to allow each of those people to survive as circumstances change.As the societies within a culture change, these societal changes must inevitably impact upon the cultural values that are held at the time of change, and eventually, the change in society, is reflected in a cultural change.
Javanese culture and society is not the same in the year 2005, as it was in 1905, or 1605, or 1305.
The Javanese language itself is primary indicator of this ongoing change. Prior to the rise of the Mataram dynasty, the Javanese language did not appear to contain the multi level structure which became the dominant feature of the language as it has existed for the last couple of hundred years. However, although this use of language is a primary indicator of the nature of the society as it exists at any time, it may be argued that language of and by itself is not a core value of a culture, but merely a reflection of the values of the moment, within the culture.
This change in the use of language is not unique to our own language, but applies across the entire expanse of all language, with the exception of those languages which are recognised as being dead. If we live, we change. If a language does not change, it will die. Language, reflecting culture provides the same tale in respect of any culture:- where a culture is unable to change, that culture will die.
A core value of Javanese culture is its ability to absorb from other cultures and societies those things that will benefit the society, and to discard those things which will weaken it. When Java has taken from an outside source, she has invariably synthesized that which which she has taken, and remoulded in her own image, so that something which was originally Hindu, Chinese, Dutch or Portuges re-emerges as something which has taken on the form, colour or structure of Java, but which has built upon a foriegn foundation. This characteristic of our culture is at once its strength, and its weakness.
The culture of Java may not be able to return to the agricultural roots of Mataram and Majapahit, but the ability of the Javanese people to select the best from other cultures and societies , and then to reshape these things in ways that will benefit and strengthen Javanese and Indonesian society, and re-inforce Javanese culture, is the very reason why Javanese culture will never be absorbed into any "world culture", but rather will continue to retain its own unique identity.
So, although our professors warn us that the Javanese language is all set to disappear, what they really mean is that the Javanese language forms that our ancestors needed to survive in a heirarchical society, will disappear.In modern Indonesia the tiered societal structure that our grandfathers were familiar with is becoming flatter with every passing day. Our language will inevitably change to reflect this flattening structure. But the language will not die, it will live , as the culture of Java will continue to live, because both language and culture are strong enough to change.
If we are to identify a single value as the defining value of Javanese culture, then from a historical point of view this value must be the ability to absorb, synthesize, recreate.The history of Javanese culture and society is one of adaption and survival.As an icon of Javanese society the keris has also changed through the years , and because of its ability to change it survives today, and will continue to survive as long as it can continue to change to fulfil the needs of the changing society and culture of which it is a part.
In my previous post I wrote emotionally, this time I have attempted to write logically.
Javanese society, culture, and the blossoms of the culture will survive, simply because the nature of the culture is to change with the change of seasons.