In this series of posts that I began yesterday I am looking at this past week’s significant newsworthy developments with an eye toward what crucial and competing cultural processes are at work in the world today and what they might signify within our culture. These events are:
- the Occupy groups
- the outing of corrupt college sports empires that had been covering up serial child rape for decades
- the ouster of the architect of the institutionalized racism of AZ SB 1070,
- a conservative southern Christian state decided to retain a woman’s right to choose
- a conservative rust belt state decided to reinstate collective bargaining
- And even internationally there are signs that powerful men might not be getting away with morally reprehensible acts (DSK)
We are used to the flux between corporate and non-corporate forces in our American culture, but some trends exist well beyond national boundaries and this is one of them. Corporations and institutions act in collusion to preserve and expand their interests. Banking and energy interests rule the world and have been on the track to do so since the beginning of the Industrial Age.
I’m trying exclude words like power and control in this series as, even though we use them everyday, they are ill defined terms that are of questionable value when we are trying to figure out processes and events. So I’m examining some of the existing, and surprising or emergent, properties of some recent news events beyond simple political, economic, or religious explanations that may be at work behind the scenes at this moment in history.
I’m an intellectual, I make no bones about that, I try to figure things out. I’ve been that way my whole life; I simply cannot help it. I watch, and read, and research, and do not “believe” in absolutes. This has always gotten me in all kinds of hot water because most people, even most of the people who think in the way I do, will not ruffle the feathers of those who believe in absolutes as the absolutists tend to outnumber the undecided folks, and be able to influence outcomes. Those people who believe in absolutes believe the absolutes to be different things, some absolutists believe in a religion, some in science, some are not at all concerned with organizing principles and do what they believe to be best for themselves.
A culture cannot long exist with people who act against their own, individual, best interests. But neither can a culture long exist when individuals collectively act against the best interests of the population to whom they belong.
Finite, well defined populations used to be able to recognize other members of the population to whom they belonged. But this requires a small or at least “countable” population. Within the last couple hundred years there have been massive changes to ALL aspects of human culture. While there has been change as long as humans have organized themselves through language and culture, the pace of change and the territory of change have transformed to such a degree that it is questionable as to whether discrete populations still exist or whether there is truly one population, a situation which has not existed since humans walked out of Africa for the last time.
So what are we doing with this opportunity, and how do we make wise choices about determining what we are going to do and how we react? Next time I will be getting into some of the plausible scenarios behind the why the things that are happening are being noticed and amplified.