A Meditaton on Culture

Every culture inherits a world view and set of assumptions about reality; it’s often difficult to question these assumptions because the culture reflects them to you through most mediums of expression, such as art, philosophy, and everyday discourse.
 
But worldviews evolve and change. It would be folly to think that the Modern West has figured everything out, or even much at all. We have technologies that no historical society has had, true. But our interpretations of reality have long been stuck at a horizon point: Material Reductionism leads us to the unsettling conclusion that our very way of knowing things is completely determined by the structures of the brain–but this encompasses even that very conclusion itself.
 
Thus, we are stuck within the confines of our own subjectivity; Materialism undermines itself because in order to get off the ground it must posit an extra, unwarranted ontological category, separate from consciousness: solid matter.
 
And even our investigations of “solid matter” have led to the startling and unintuitive conclusion that there is no solidity to matter at all.
 
Without a guiding metaphysical view for our culture, our technology runs rampant. Just because we CAN build weapons of mass destruction, or expedite manual labor to machines, doesn’t mean we SHOULD. In fact, “should” has no place in our lexicon if we have no teleological views.
 
The fact is, a culture cannot exist without a metaphysical view. It has no guiding foundation. Without that solid foundation, there really is no common reference point of art, philosophy, or even logical justifications for a social institution or social arrangement. Nothing is justified, and so no political ideology in the Modern West even makes sense, in terms of its essential assumptions.
 
The truth is that we have no culture. At best, we have a pseudo-culture which is disintegrating before our eyes. We have technology in spades, but not the wisdom to employ it or to keep our actions in check, lest we undo our very civilization.

1 Comment

Matt

February 24, 2019 at 5:04 pm Reply

I give you the unifying worldview/religion of the educated atheists: Workism https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/02/religion-workism-making-americans-miserable/583441/

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