I have decided to posit some of the thoughts, ruminations, ideas that move through my head on a given day. Don't worry, each entry is only a sentence or two (or sometimes three) in length.
Pondering the Interstices between technology and U.S. culture/lifestyles...I would be interested in learning of any books which do an excellent job of delving into this topic. I've read Future Shock, The Third Wave, The Singularity is Near, and The Americans: The Democratic Experience among others. However, I am more interested in discerning the ways in which current technology has altered (and continues to change) Americans' views of reality, their work habits, lifestyles, etc. In other words, I would like to find a work which focuses on the last 30 years or less of changes.
My take on Relativism/Post-Modernism...Granted, this meme provides a lot of valuable information/insight into the interconnections between culture and values, beliefs, perspectives. It is obvious that my value system and personal philosophy are determined in part by the fact that I live in the U.S. Nonetheless, people who subscribe to the view that all values, beliefs, etc. are relative (and culture dependent) are in error. Some portion of every society's (and most individuals') values and beliefs derive from transcendent aspects related to human nature and the fact that people are not hermits (and thus have to live in a community). Given that fact, I am surprised at how many people seemingly support notions of pure relativism/extreme post-modernism (or whatever you'd like to call it).
On Commodification and Nature...Most of my ancestors were likely much more connected than I am to nature, to their society, and perhaps even to their families. Whether Paleolithic polytheists or 14th Century Christians, their lives depended upon their intimate interactions with nature (ie. tilling the soil), were enhanced and maintained by centuries old traditions, and revolved around their insular, close-knit families. We moderns might consider these individuals to be backward, primitive, benighted, or any of a hundred other, derogatory phrases. Personally, I believe that while most of my ancestors' lives were probably nasty, brutish, and short, they nonetheless had access to nodes of meaning and joy that are almost alien to me--cut off as I am from these experiences by technology, consumerism, and the commodification of society.
Why I Like Lord of the Rings...The trilogy has a lot of flaws, which include a lack of character development and depth, female roles/views, etc...Despite these issues, the book does a wonderful job of extolling and analyzing "good." Tolkien achieves this feat in part by contrasting a nuanced, multi-faceted "good" vs. a one dimensional, oppressing evil, thereby at once differentiating good acts from bad ones but demonstrating that goodness comes in many flavors and strengths.
Ok, enough for today...