Saturday, August 11, 2012

On thing lacking in the U.S.: an awareness of 'culture' as a category

By which I don't mean high culture. Neither do I mean "Western Culture". Instead, I mean the idea of there being something consisting of social relationships that binds people together that, while possibly ultimately based on economics, is nevertheless in its lived experience something that's almost intangible.

'Culture' in this sense refers to the self awareness of human beings self of human life and its various issues. It's self aware, self critical, thinking about the environment in which a person lives in, about both their own personal life and the extended lives of those around them. This aspect of culture is lacking in the United States.

Instead of self consciousness about what it is that we do, we have a mind-numbing eternal present in which people just live, and live, and live, without critically evaluating or even really giving a damn about what exactly that living consists of. Work, food, tv, work food, tv, maybe sharing the latest Hollywood movie with loved ones, then repeating whatever trends are marketed to them, without any self awareness of just what it's all about characterizes life here. Little intellectual curiosity, just pass the chips. This eternal now has to be challenged and contextualized within the greater whole that individuals exist within.

If we're going to change things we need to build up a self conscious political sub-culture revolving around present day issues of life and society that can be used as a spring board for action to change things in our society.

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