The development of culture is a continuous process. In this process while the experiences of the proponents of one culture are accumulated and handed down from one generation to another on the one hand, new elements from other cultures are introduced, through accommodation, cross fertilization and diffusion, on the other, and culture progresses as a result of their unification.
The existing developed culture of any country is a result of these processes carried out over a period of hundreds and thousands of years. In this development the rate of progress is not uniform. At times it is slow while at other times it is relatively fast, some times it is moving towards progress at others towards deterioration.
In order to understand cultural growth properly, it is necessary to understand those processes of cultural growth which are mentioned above. Briefly, these processes are the following :
To begin with, an individual experiment with an object about which he knows virtually nothing. Of the various experiments he makes, he discards those which have proved fruitless and adopts those for s subsequent application which have been successful. In this way, the experience gained in this experimentation is accumulated and passed on by one generation to its successor as the social heritage.
The development of language has been of tremendous value in this accumulation. New experiments continue to be made, in addition to these experiences. Inventions increase along with the increase in needs.
It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention. In this way, both the material and non-material aspects of culture progress through such accumulation. The accumulation continues uninterrupted.
Cultural growth results not merely from accumulation but also by the adoption of novel concepts from other cultures. Accordingly, diffusion applies to the adoption of new ideas by one individual or society from another individual or society. Almost all the cultures of the world are adopting innumerable new ideas and things from the modern Western culture through diffusion.
The new ideas which have been acquired through diffusion have to be accommodated with the other features of the culture. It is only through having accommodated themselves with Indian culture that the numerous objects and various elements of Western culture which have been acquired and adopted in India have become a part of its life and have added to its progress.
4. Cross fertilization
The conjunction of two cultures is beneficial to both since it does not happen that one should borrow from the other exclusively. This process of mutual give and take is called cross-fertilization. Due to this, culture retains its vitality and life.
When such a conjunction of two cultures occurs, causing cultural growth, that they are intimately related rather than identified the process is called acculturation. It is the opposite of the process of acculturation. For example, many English things were adopted in India but the Swadeshi movement and the development of nationalism abolished and condemned many things of Western origin.
In this process of cultural conjunction, when one culture becomes as intimate with the another as to lose its individuality it is called assimilation.
It would have become apparent front the preceding description that the process of cultural growth is not simple, but complex. Many processes function in it. In the process of such interaction many cultures have become completely extinct and are only mentioned in the history. Great cultures are invariably progressive. This is the secret of their life force. Indian culture is one such example.