coromandal


social order window dressing
August 15, 2015, 4:12 pm
Filed under: brave new world, chronotopes | Tags: , , , ,

Capitalist modernity: instrumentalism, power, profit, material survival, management, manipulation, self interested calculation, private morality. Culture is for material production, decoration for the new material consumer social order, distraction during non work hours.

The pre capitalist modern world: fostering human sharing and solidarity, communal shaping of a common life. Culture is an extension of the aims of human solidarity and shared life.

Terry Eagleton’s description:

Capitalist modernity, so it appeared, had landed us with an economic system which was almost purely instrumental.  It was a way of life dedicated to power, profit, and the business of material survival, rather than to fostering the values of human sharing and solidarity.  The political realm was more a question of management and manipulation than of the communal shaping of a common life.  Reason itself had been debased to mere self-interested calculation.  As for morality, this too, had become an increasingly private affair, more relevant to the bedroom than the boardroom.  Cultural life had grown more important in one sense, burgeoning into a whole industry or branch of material production.  In another sense, however, it had dwindled to the window-dressing of a social order which had exceedingly little time for anything it could not price or measure.  Culture was now largely a matter of how to keep people harmlessly distracted when they were not working.

Terry Eagleton, The Meaning of Life

Advertisements


all kinds of richness
October 11, 2013, 12:24 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , , , , ,

In our work lives, the status quo is snobbery and the desired goal is love, explains Alain de Botton below. Snobbery is being judged based on superficials while all the richness of our inner lives roil hidden beneath the judgment: a vision from Dante’s hell. In essence, bosses reduce workers to one or two capabilities that meet their business needs, while workers yearn to use their genius and suffer through their days.

To break this unhappy  – and untenable – blockage, one must see the real potential of a person’s inner life. This is accomplished by imagination, which breaks the bonds of the snob judgment and allows the real inner richness and creativity to be revealed and to play a part.

It’s a good lesson to know if you want to be happy in your workplace, or to make a pleasant workplace for the people who work for you.

Alain de Botton on the chasm between our rich interior selves and our jobs:

We live in a world surrounded by snobs.  What is a snob?–A snob is someone who takes a small part of you and uses that to judge the whole of you.  And the dominant snobbery nowadays is job snobbery.

This is a deeply frightening vision.  Partly it’s frightening because most of us are unable to bring our true richness of character and personality in line with our business card.  The business card does not fully reflect who we are. We are being judged, we feel, in a humiliating way.  We feel there is so much in us that has not got an expression in capitalism.  You know, capitalism is a machine that recognizes outward financial, external achievement.  And most of us carry all kinds of richness which we are unable to translate into that language.  There are very few of us whose full complexity of character has been brought out, as it were, on their business card.  Most of us, what is special about us requires – it requires love.  And by love, I mean imagination.  It requires someone to say, even though that person looks a bit, it could be anything boring, uninteresting, unimportant, dull, actually that’s because I’m only looking at them in the first 30 seconds.  They need more time.

So we need charity and we need complexity.  And the cruelty of the modern world, the cruelty of New York City, for example, so this is a city where people give you 30 seconds and not much longer, if you’re not careful.  And that’s very challenging, it cuts people up inside.  It literally drives you crazy.

What are you worth?  Getting past status anxiety, Alain de Botton



RESURGENCE OF THE REAL

Are we coming out of a postmodern age into a new social and cultural paradigm?  Here’s a chart that shows the last shift – from modernism to postmodernism – and predicts what the new emerging paradigm may look like.

RESURGENCE OF THE REAL


 

  Modern Deconstructionist Postmodern Ecological
Postmodern
Meta-narrative Salvation and progress None (They’re all power plays) The cosmological unfolding
Truth mode Objectivism Extreme relativism Experientialism
World A collection of objects An aggregate of fragments A community of subjects
Reality Fixed order Social construction Fragmented
Sense of self Socially engineered Fragmented Processual
Primary truth The universal The particular The particular-in-context
Grounding Mechanistic universe None (total groundlessness) Cosmological
processes
Nature Nature as opponent Nature as wronged object Nature as subject
Body Control over the body ‘Erasure of the body’
(It’s all social construction)
Trust in the body
Science Reductionist It’s only a narrative! Complexity
Economics Corporate Post-capitalist Community-based
Political focus Nation-state The local A Community of communities of communities
Sense of the divine God the Father ‘Gesturing towards the sublime’ Creativity in the cosmos,
ultimate mystery
Key metaphors Mechanics and law Economics (‘libidinal economy’) and signs/coding Ecology

table adapted from The Resurgence of the Real by Charlene Spretnak

THE BIG RETHINK: FAREWELL TO MODERNISM − AND MODERNITY TOO, Peter Buchanan



in the land of the timid
April 21, 2008, 12:40 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

(le Corbusier|peasant|more peasants|Rockefeller)

This is from the review of a book about Corbusier’s trip to America in the 1930s – a lecture tour and business trip.  It seems he developed a low opinion of the new world; two examples of its crude character are given here.  He had an affair with an American woman from New York city whom he ultimately decided was peasant-like.  He pursued business with Rockefeller, who was building skyscrapers at the time, and also concluded he was less than civilized. Peasant lovers and land developers. Very cosmopolitan!

Le Corbusier in America is the fascinating but sad story of his master’s attempt to woo the New World in the 1930s, even as he insulted it for timidity. Mardges Bacon has been working on this tome for 20 years and, with its 80 pages of detailed notes, it is a piece of scholarship that will not be superseded. Among her many insights are the ways his American lectures helped establish modern architecture in the academies, how he almost won a series of important commissions (before his caustic comments lost them), the role he played in bringing mass-housing to this country and the design of the UN Headquarters. Also the affair with his American muse, Marguerite Harris, is clarified: a woman he could see as a symbol of the New World and compliment in letters and drawings as ‘the peasant woman of New York’. The fact that most lovers would not take this as praise suggests how complex and sophisticated were his thoughts. He also said that Nelson Rockefeller, who he hotly pursued for commissions, has ‘the iron fist of a peasant’ — though not to his face. Modernism and the primitive were mixed in LC’s mind during the ’30s while Americans, reading his books of the ’20s, were determined to find only the apostle of the machine. This led to continual misunderstanding.

~Charles Jencks book review of Le Corbusier in America: Travels in the Land of the Timid, by Mardges Bacon, London: MIT Press, 2001.