Culture / society : two interesting and related words.
There have been some significant and well-documented periods of time that correlate with a particular type of cultural growth (primarily in the western world)
Periods of cultural growth:
- enlightenment was about using reason
- modernism was about being new
- postmodernism was about being cynical
There are some competing words for what term will be applied to the cultural ‘post-postmodern’ movement. Altermodernism is the one that has most piqued my interest. I think whatever name is applied, the post-postmodern period will be remembered for being about acceptance.
Cultures will accept each other. They will be better connected so information will flow between cultures better. Cultures will take the parts that resonate most between each other (dare I say it, the 'good’ parts from each), and merge them into an altermodern culture.
This culture will drive toward a singularity, a singular combination of the best cultural influences which will continue to drive societal progress in a strongly consistent direction.
The industrial revolution (and enlightenment) was driven by economic forces. These economic forces came from the new tools developed for shaping materials (ie machines).
In the same vein, I feel the next cultural movement (altermodernism) will also be driven by economic forces. These forces will come from our new tools for shaping information (ie the internet).
The increasing flow of information that is happening will facilitate an intense cultural curiosity. People will want to be involved in these new-found ‘best’ things that are entering their own cultural space. And the main way people will become involved will be by consumption.
I’m not talking about consumption of goods, I’m mainly talking about consumption of services. Economics is going to drive altermodernist thinking. Our values and beliefs are going to merge because we will be trading on a global cross-cultural level. The more trade we do globally, the more opportunity we have to take the best parts of the new culture and apply it to our own.
Altermodernism is going to be really cool. There’s a lot of amazing stuff in the world and we’re on the cusp of integrating it into our own lives everywhere around the globe.
The move toward a cultural ‘singularity’ has ominous tones of ‘beigeness’ about it, some kind of cultural monotony and homogeneity. But altermodernism is about seeking and incorporating the best aspects from various cultures and using it to further progress society. It doesn’t prevent, (and perhaps encourages) cultural and individual curiosity and exploration, so the ‘fear of beige’ doesn’t seem real to me, as long as curiosity is what motivates the quest for the new ‘bestness’.
This has been a quick ten-minute brain dump into the world.