Originally Posted by That Is Nice
How are you guys thinking of culture?
I think I might have figured out the different angles people have on this.
I have been thinking of culture in an anthropological sense...the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another (that's one entry in the dictionary).
Others might be looking at it from a more contemporary view.
Also, we as posters might very well be of different generations ourselves, which might inform our thinking.
I am definitely not looking at the way culture was a 100 years ago. I am looking at my experience of culture during my lifetime. I am looking at the culture that was transmitted to me during my lifetime. In that regard, I am looking at the sum total because the sum total at any given time is reflected in the current generations. I am looking at things with a perspective of the way things are rather than the way they were a 100 years ago.
I think the generational difference probably has a huge impact on how we approach this discussion. The baby boomers and generation x'ers do not see eye to eye on many things at all. If you want to look at things historically, then I would have to agree that North America is historically intellectual.
If you want to look at current culture, then I stick with the notion that it is anti-illectual. One of the complaints from the Boomers is that X'ers don't know how to see the big picture and do research and think for themselves like past generations have. If the X'ers and subsequent generations are seen as the "me" generations, then how could they possibly be intellectual. They are too busy focusing on themselves to worry about learning anything other than what is necessary for them to achieve their goals. Some could say that it is the fault of the Boomers because they suppressed the generations that came after them. Or, you could look at it from the standpoint that later generations didn't have to do the work and thinking that the boomers did because the boomers did it for them.
Either way, the drive that led past generations to be intellectual is no longer there, which is why I claim that America is anti-intellectual. That may change in the coming generations but as it stands right now, intellectualism is not valued and it is not portrayed in a positive light on a daily basis. It is really kind of ignored. It may not be denigrated but it certainly isn't promoted or celebrated. It is not in the messages that you see on TV, newspapers, books, billboards, cereal boxes, and everything else we encounter on a daily basis. If you want to see what a society values, look at what it celebrates, promotes, and perpetuates. The first thing that comes to mind is sports, sports, sports, money, money, money, spend, spend, spend. When was the last time you heard the message think, think, think, study, study, study, read, read, read?