Sunday, May 10, 2009

The cultural landscape

There have been all kinds of trends in culture over the years. From fashion, to slang, to all the new social media and now dinosaur-seeming traditional media, the desire to do good, or to not care so much about others.
And culture plays such a large part in what kind of political economic structures will be successful or accepted. But the culture is also respondent. It grows and changes in ways we cannot totally understand or control. It's the ultimate memetical social force and one that is used or has been tried to be used in many ways to flat out apply the ideas of behavioral psychology as a means towards expansion, immediate profit, and the normativization of consumerist culture.

Just to take a long view here for a minute. In roughly 5-13 billion years our sun is either going to die or go supernova. Either possibility means that if we want to survive as a species, then we'll have to be out of this solar system, if not this galaxy within that time.

Let's not put that one off till the last minute? eh? Somewhat as we have with, oh, like every other problem facing the human race. I ask myself sometimes if it's not already too late; if my long view is essentially just an intellectual exercise within the egoistic, kin based system of capitalism. If so, then social goods will be out of reach, as from an aggregate of egoists does not an altruism develop. Regardless of the purity of these economic models, the formulas do not add up.

I can't help feeling it's hollow. Almost certainly it is, and any good philosopher of political economy can spot the fallacious assumptions that grow into the cultural zietgiest through the proliferation of ideological 'think tanks' whose only interest is in altering perspectives on culture that favor their brand of...their brand of...frankly ideological economics, or neoclassical econ. as it's more widely called. An economic system with no moral foundation, and one that is quite obviously unsustainable and just plain shiitey. Whatever tactics that are consciously used to alter the state of the current society to orient it towards a greater degree of consumerism and a higher degree of blind acceptivism.

The philosophy of ethics would suggest on several different levels and in several different ways that any distributive system must be grounded in a coherent moral structure. And that moral structure, I believe, is philosophically sufficient in it's pluralist frame, if not entirely satisfying, to develop better social and collective personal outcomes. To take moral pluralism and use it as an analogic starting point towards an economic pluralism, I believe could begin to help reform this system, help to shift culture (although help from Hollywood, TV, magazines, and the internet must serve as stolid engines of this shift by moving away from a quite cracked economic model [which comes from a lack of true economic understanding in the world of the mainstream arts]). I mean honestly, who can't see that making movies like LOTR is a more lucrative enterprise than, say, Max Payne, or even X-Men: Wolverine, and probably Terminator: Salvation. At least during normal economic times. It's just getting from point A to point Q.

In truth nothing short of a world-wide spiritual revolution could bring us beyond simple pluralism and begin the hard road toward a cooperative, sustainable, social economics. I believe there does have to be a personal revolution as someone, anyone, everyone in our society find ways to, through the use of the archetypal symbols that they must individually find for themselves, bring spirituality's ritualistic practices into the transcendance of a elegant, personal grace and love. Only then, with a compassionate heart, a graceful mind, and a loving self can the true experience of the spirit be achieved, and from that the wild-beating heart of culture will emerge, moving along with us towards a just and equitable society. And then, just maybe, your practice will lead you to see beyond the half-stifled glimpses of culture that inundate us with a reduction of the brain activity of consciousness through a hueristic process that tends to gloss over the bittersweet, ambiguous, and even personally shameful aspects of our selves that truly need the experience of god or a blast of the intellect and all of the attendant light that that shines on our own inner truth.

This experience, this trascendant experience of internal, mental synchrony; It's an unmistakable experience of all pervasive happiness and connectivity, real connectivity that binds all humankind into the global milieu past the purience of rushing, hurrying modern living. Until the spell is broken, and the secularity of modernity washes away in its cultural stormclouds can the true human culture of ingenius beauty finally break through.

We must all find the spirit that exists within everyone for ourselves and together at the same time. Find a way to help this spirit, this universal soul that we all share somehow, soar and fly with the falcons, and bring back to us our desperately kidnapped culture. And help to add our little bit into the slipstream, and hope against hope that we're doing the right thing. And know that if we're ever totally sure, then surely we've lost our way. It always seems to circle back around on itself.

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