Even the most inventive society invents only a modest proportion of its Innovations. Most of the social changes in all known societies have developed through diffusion, the spread of culture traits from group to group. Diffusion operates both within societies and between societies. Jazz originated among black musicians of New Orleans and became diffused to other groups within the society. Later it spread to other societies and has now been diffused throughout the civilized world. Diffusion takes place whenever socieites When the Lord thy God shall bring thee Into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee ... thou shalt smite' them and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them; neither shalt thou make marriages with them ... , For they will turn away thy son from following me, that thev may serve other gods. ' ... But ... ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their grav~n images with fire. (Deut, 7:1-5.) . Social and - Cultural Clumgt Like most efforts to prevent intercultural contacts, this prohibition failed. The Old Testament tells how the Hebrews persisted in mingling and intermarrying with the surrounding tribes, adopting bits of their cultures in the process. Whenever cultures come into contact, some exchange of culture traits always takes place. Most of the content of any complex culture has been diffused from other societies. Ralph Linton has written a famous passage which tells how 100 percent Americans have actually borrowed must of their culture from other societies . back covers made from cotton, domesticated in India, or linen, domesticated in the Near East, or silk, the use of which was discovered in China. All of these materials have been spun
and woven by processes invented in the Near East. He slips into his moccasins, invented by the Indians of the Eastern woodlands, and goes
to the bathroom, whose fixtures are 'I mixture of European and American inventions, both of recent date. He takes off his.pajamas, a garment invented in India, and washes with soap invented by the ancient Gauls. He then shaves, a masochistic rite which seems to have been derived from either Sumner or Ancient Egypt. Returning to the bedroom, he moves his clothes from a chair of Southern European type and proceeds to dress. He puts on garments whose form originally derived from the skin clothing of the nomads of the Asiatic steppes, puts on shoes made from skins tanned by a process invented in ancient Egypt and cut to a pattern derived from the classical civilizations of the Mediterranean, and ties around his neck a strip of bright-colored cloth which is a vestigial survival of the shoulder shawls worn by seventeenth century Croatians. Before gluing out for breakfast he glances through the window, made of glass invented in Egypt, and if it is raining puts on overshoes made of rubber discovered by the Central American Indians and takes an umbrella, invented in southeastern Asia. Upon his head he puts a hat made of felt, a material invented in the Asiatic steppes.