It has become very difficult to pass on traditional cultural traits to children in contemporary circumstances, Michael Strong laments:
In the West there are plausible claims that characteristics such as character and integrity, courage and honor are not what they used to be. In Japan, which experienced a very rapid transition to modernity in the late 19th century, older Japanese observed the rapid decline in the Samurai Bushido ethos in a matter of decades. Alaska natives saw an even more rapid introduction to modernity in the mid-20th century, in which thousand-year old survival skills ranging from hunting knowledge to extraordinary physical toughness and prowess, vanished almost overnight.
A skeptic may suggest: Fine and good, but we don’t really need seal-hunting skills, arctic survival skills, Samurai self-discipline and shame, or perhaps even old-style honor and integrity. Regardless of what one thinks of these claims, my point is that if there were any human characteristics whatsoever that required long tutelage by trained masters in a supportive culture they would be invisible to us at present. There may be amazing capabilities that might allow human beings to adapt to the 21st century but which do not exist, which cannot exist, because our society has prevented the development of those institutions that would bring forth such human capabilities.
Traditional cultures, having evolved through centuries of interaction with a relatively stable environment, are models of such integrated, coherent cultures. “Education” in such cultures was a natural, unconscious experience in which young people gradually learned the practices of their culture. With the exception of the rapidly disappearing vestigial remains of such cultures, human beings today are raised in a more or less incoherent cultural universe. In the absence of a coherent culture, humans are more likely to find themselves prey to impulsive and compulsive behaviors, variously directed towards material goods, status, sex, food, vanity, emotional attachments, gambling, electronic stimulation (television, video games, etc.), or drugs. We are very complex organisms; in order to live as healthy adults, we need to be raised well.