Lebenskünstler

The Primal, the Modern, and the Vital Center – Living Places – The Cultural Errors of Modernity

Posted in Uncategorized by Randall Szott on 10/12/2012

The Primal, the Modern, and the Vital Center – Donald Oliver, Julie Canniff, and Jouni Korhonen

…authentic face-to-face communication may not be necessary in the short run, but in the end it is a requisite for a compassionate and balanced culture and society.

…What one is or what one will be “worth” is determined [in modernity], not by some inner connectedness to the people one cares for, or the natural world that sustains one, or a transcendent reality that unites all being, but rather by the price a product or even one’s own being can “command” in the market place [also by how well one performs within the highly reductive and specialized arena of institutionally defined “cultural production.”].

Actions such as bonding with a mate, playing with children, or eating a meal with friends are not generally characterized as “progress,” while constructing a new airport or highway is [or say making a “significant” or “critical” art work].

What happens when the specialization and fragmentation overtake a society to the point that only verbally complicated and clever people can function and adapt well to the pace of novelty and change generated by innovative engineers? And what happens to the more primal qualities of life for everyone under these circumstances?

…as the larger and more universal forms of social structure (governments, economic corporations, media, schools and universities, etc.) gain virtually monopolistic control over the livelihood and information provided to common people and their meaning-making organs of communication, the opportunity to participate in constructing and negotiating one’s culture and identity within local to middle level settings is reduced and with it one’s multilayered and authentic relational identity. The world then comes to be constituted only by powerful corporate places populated by really “significant people” in “important but distant places” who appear in the newspapers or magazines or on the TV screen or even the internet who drive rapid changes. And all of this drama is virtually inaccessible to marginally significant or insignificant “local places,” i.e. one’s private dwelling or neighborhood or church or coffee break at work.

This organic view of society…associates goodness with health – but not necessarily with continuing progressive change or improvement…It is important to point out that our theory includes balance between deeply encultured traditional institutions and modern, novel, pragmatic modes of functioning. It is, in fact, the compulsive modern use of our rational pragmatic gifts as we engage in the constant effort to “improve” things which may undermine the quality of life and sustainability of many “living places.”

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