It is clearly seen that agriculture is playing an important role in shaping the human culture. Since the discovery of agriculture, the culture of man has become dynamic with response to the discovery of new agricultural techniques and methods. The human life style today has changed much as compared to those old days. Advent of agriculture has actually influenced so many aspects of human life which on return has changed the culture of man. The most aspects of life that the discovery and practice of agriculture has influenced are the social, political and economic aspects. The three aspects have a direct link to human culture, as the culture itself entails the material and non material things.
Those moments when the agriculture was not complex man lived a very simple life. For example, the nomadic pastoralist lived in small groups, where they could wander in the grazing land miles of distance with their cattle. They had no permanent homes as their life was only to look after cattle. As the time went on, so many communities discovered the importance of keeping animals and for that reason their demand of the land to graze their animals increased. This has resulted to restriction of the nomadic pastoralists’ movement forcing them to construct permanent homes where they can take a close care to their animals (Azar, 2006, pp. 180).
Due to biodiversity in the human environment, agricultural practices have affected the human culture differently. This is to mean that, the way animal husbandry affects the human culture is different from the way plants cropping affect the human culture. Presently and historically, plants serve an intimate function in the human culture. They have influence on human art, language, and world events. The civilization development and the agricultural development coincide with the advent of agriculture. The development of culture or civilization was only possible as a result of agricultural invention. With the discovery of crop production, man had very little time to spend in activities such as the construction of shelters, and provision food. This led for man to allocate most of his time in contemplation and arts activities. The discovery of agriculture on the side of crop production plays a vital role in cultural universality. Across the world, different continents or counties have domesticated different crops, which determine their way of life. This implies that the culture of each country or continent will depend on the type and the nature of the crop adopted.
Under the idea of universality in agricultural discovery, plants domesticated by man have served other functions apart from that one of survival. For example, flowers have been used for many years back and even today in different occasions, such as ceremonies to express peoples’ affection, joy, gratitude, sympathy, welcome, grief, celebration, friendship, spiritual contemplation, or marital union. The role of flowers has awakened the consciousness of the moral in different communities. The symbolism that the plants convey includes the religious and the ethical massage. The domestication of plants traditionally has played a vital role in evolution of the human culture. The effect of the plants in our culture recognizes their value in terms of the medicine, shelter, clothing and the rest of the economic commodities. The ultimate revolution of agriculture has resulted into the shaping of the conditions of the human beings. The crops, human interaction, and the domestic animals have led to the fusion of the genetic destiny. The plenty of food has resulted to the changes in the selection pressure and the human evolution alteration which are of equal to those wrought by the plants domestication and the species of the animals (Mollison, 1997, pp. 90).
However, to understand well the role crop production in shaping the human culture we can not be restricted by the view of meeting the economic and the physical needs only. Artists, sociologists, anthropologists, historians and other professionals in other fields have begun to have interest in exploring the relationship between the plants and the human culture so as to get a clear picture of the humanity. As a matter of fact, plants forms a part of our rituals from the moment one is born to the time one dies. As indicated from above the role plants they play in celebration of different occasions, researchers now are getting interested to know how different plant are interpreted in different occasions by different communities. For example, an occasion like a Christmas day, horticultural elements have been believed to make the day much enjoyable than if the celebration was to be done without those elements.
Discovery of crop production has a great link with the evolution of the arts and the philosophy. According to Rosenfield in 1992, he maintains that the Italian courtly garden Renaissance incorporated the elements of design which were aimed for achieving man’s civilization. The purpose of the garden was only to cause an impression to those who looked at it, so as to influence the human culture of the rhetoric. The visitors who came to the garden enjoyed the glory of human being. The relationship between the advent of agriculture and the man civilization or the human culture has also been looked in terms of the relationship between the natural and the urban setting from the classical times to the present moments as it can be seen in the art, philosophy, and the literature. From this kind of relationship the human experience has undergone a fundamental shift. The environment today due the discovery of crop production it does not receive any sensuous enjoyment and the emotional involvement. However, for man to fulfill his crop production desires, he give a strong allegiance to the modern industrial and the technical objects than he gives to the nature (Rudebeck, 2000, pp. 66).
The discovery of agriculture has also played a vital part in the spiritual aspect of human beings. To get the relationship between the plant and the human spiritual aspect of life, it is important first to look at the point of human psyche functions. This can be looked into two different ways: the analytical, rational way which is associated with technology and science, and the intuitive way which is expressed in a language of symbolism and the nonverbal imagery that is ambiguous. These are more realms of music, art, and poetry and the spiritual source phenomena. To understand well the significance of nature on the spiritual aspect of life, one can turn to the traditions of religion, literature, mythology, and the various cultural arts so as to find out the human archetypical response. The study of the above indicates that, there is a strong relationship between the plants and the religious believes and the traditions.
The role of crop production in the evolution of the human culture goes fur beyond the fiber, food and the medicine. The discovery of agriculture that led to domestication of animals and plants gave room to a big change in the culture of man. The involvement of man in cultivation of crops brought in psychological, intellectual, and rewards of social activities that can be seen in the existing literature, folklore, and the art. The garden and plants have been used as way of making the other people such as the philosophers learn by example. They have also been used to examine people on deferent life aspects that were necessary for one to become a community leader. They have served as a source of virtue or vice symbols and the inspirational symbols. The human culture aspects are rich in meanings and the references in relation to plants since they have acted an important role in the integration of the development of man civilization. Understanding more about the interaction of the human beings and the domesticated plants, from food to the folklore will assist man to know well his role in the scheme of thing in his life (Dull, 1990, pp. 101).
On the other hand of agricultural invention on the side of the animal domestication, it gives a clear picture of how human culture has evolved from time to time, depending on the technology that existed in a particular time period. For millions of years back man lived as a hunter and gatherer before he began to domesticate plants and animals. The cultural change has been much attributed to the man’s adoption of the wild animals to form part of his life in executing his daily duties. Those times when man only depended on the meat and the fruits as the major source of food, there were defined orders on how such duties were to be performed. In some communities hunting was specifically made for men while women were supposed to gather fruits. In other communities the opposite is true. There was no role conflict in this as each and every one new his duty well. With the advent of agriculture it has brought in role conflict, as duties of either looking after the animals and crop cultivation in some communities is not well define who is obligated to do them (Warden, 1996, pp. 90).
The gender issue in carrying out domestic activities has ceased as the both male and female can both do similar activities. In the process of gathering and hunting it required no permanent home for man. However with start of animal husbandry and crop production man has been forced to look for permanent place where he can take care of the animals and the plants. This has endangered the nature in that, man has to clear the forest to establish his home and for the cultivation of crops. It has further force man to go ahead and advent more material things which he can use to carry out his agricultural activities. Tool such as hoes, axes, and knives were invented with the emergence of agriculture. The discovery of these tools has actually changed the life style of man as it has become more efficient to do some home activities. For cutting things such as meet and plants man used sharp edged stones, in which it was tedious and inefficient, but due to discovery of agriculture efficient tools have been discovered.
Before the advent of agriculture man could life in different areas of different climatic conditions provided his basic needs were satisfied. The domestication of animals and plants has forced man to look for home where the plants and the domesticated animals can thrive well. For some communities who lived in areas which had different climatic conditions compared to the one they have eventually settled in for the purpose of looking better places for their agricultural practices, their cultural practice have greatly been influenced by the nature. They have forgotten the old cultural practice and adopted the new ones that fit their place of residence. The kind of the domesticated the plants and animals give an identity to a given community. People in the old days and even the present moment identified themselves with particular activity that they carried on, and which was not common to all the people in a county or continent. This gives a sense of proud as the people sees it to be their own idea of coming up with such activity and they are the only one with the ability of doing it. This diversity in the agricultural activities has led to community interdependency (Rudebeck, 2000, pp. 67).
As the communities are advancing in terms of agricultural know how, the more their dependency increase on the other community that carries out different economic activities. For example, those communities which practiced crop production developed the need of animal power so as to plough their gardens, while on the other hand the communities which practiced animal husbandry developed the need of supplement food to meat. The only solution to this was to have the two communities exchanging what they produced to cater for their arising needs. Despite the satisfaction of the material needs among the interacting communities, their social desires were also fulfilled. This led to intermarriage among the community members, where the idea of only marriage within ones community was no longer there. Although the culture of intermarriage among members of different communities came into existence, it was also accompanied by some vices as a result of agricultural discovery.
The act of keeping animals brought in the issues of cattle rustling among some communities. This developed and became a style of life in most of the African communities who practiced animal husbandry. With the advent of crop production water which served as only for human consumption, other uses of it came into existences such as the irrigation of crops. Different methods for irrigation were discovered. The source of food to man was not only from the forest but he could grow food crops for his own consumption. The advent of agriculture has also brought in the idea of property ownership which never existed among some communities. Many years ago people possessed only what they had for a particular day. The issue of accumulating assets as a wealth was not there. The key important thing was only to satisfy the daily needs from the resources that were available. When agriculture came into existence, people needed land for pasture and an area to cultivate their crops. This aroused the need for a permanent place for such activities. People could posses the land and term it as a personal property. The nomadic communities could either own a personal land a common land for grazing their animals. Human beings now started to count their wealth in terms of the properties they possessed and owned. Up to the present moment the idea of property ownership is still there (Azar, 2006, pp. 183).
The advent of agriculture has changed the recreational behavior of some communities. Bull fight in most of the African countries and the South American nations is a recreation activity that has come up as a result of animal domestication. This has been valued high by some people as a source of happiness. In modern time, agricultural shows have been held for people to come together for the purpose of learning new agricultural activities. For some people it is only for leisure to break monotony of their places of work (Hulse, 1993, pp. 72).
As the agriculture advances with time more of the human activities are changing with time. Agriculture started as a simple human activity, but as there is change in human technology there is also change in some of the methods of agriculture that man uses to execute some of the agricultural activities. The changes in the agricultural activities are playing a vital role in shaping the human culture. Most of the manual jobs that man used to do are now done by machines. The machines have changed the nature of human work from being more manual to more mechanical. There has been an increasing establishment of factories and industries in the urban centers for the purpose of processing the agricultural products. This has changed the human life style in that, man has to live fur from home so that he can work in those industries and factories. Unlike the old days where man lived close to his family members, in this case the way of life has changed completely (Dull, 1990, pp. 102).
Advent of agriculture is not a new thing to human life, but has only been advancement in his life. The agricultural discovery has contributed much in shaping the human culture in many areas. Before the domestication of plants and animals, man lived simple life with few duties and obligations to fulfill. It is out of this, the man’s culture has become more complex and similar among many people of different communities. Allover the world most of the communities have almost similar cultural practices in terms of their agricultural activities and ideas. Where this has not happened, the diffusion of ideas will make the culture to be common among all people in the world. People are coming up with new ideas which can enable them to do what the nature denies them to carry out.
To supplement rain irrigation has been practiced as an alternative to this. Those plants which require long light wave length have been planted in areas where light wave length are short, but through provision of alternative light source. It is out of this, the way of life is changing as human beings are adopting new agricultural techniques and methods. It is true that, as the time goes on human culture will change and may lead to complete replacement of the old one or the old one become more complex. Agriculture has been of benefit to the human as it is making man to live life that is more civilized in comparison to the old way of life, despite the use of some technological activities that are endangering the environment (Warden, 1996, pp. 92).
Azar Gat, 2006. Human Civilization: Environment, Culture, and Agriculture. Oxford University Press, Oxford. pp. 180, 183
Dull Jack, 1990. Han Agriculture: The Formation of Early Chinese Agrarian Economy, University of Washington Press, United States. pp. 101, 102
Hulse Frederick, 1993. The Human Culture: An Introduction to Physical Anthropology, Oxford University Press, Oxford. pp. 72
Mollison Holmgren, 1997. Perma-culture One: A Perennial Agriculture for Human Settlements, Greenwood Press, United States. pp. 90
Rudebeck Elizabeth, 2000. Tilling Nature, Harvesting Culture: Exploring Images of the Human Being in the Transition to Agriculture, Routledge, London. pp. 66, 67
Warden Carl, 1996. The Emergency of Human Culture, Macmillan, London. pp. 90, 92