Re: virus: Primitivism

Mon, 29 Jul 1996 14:01:31 -0500

Ken Pantheists wrote:

>I heard or read some comment somewhere that said primitivism is
>something a society engages in when it becomes affluent, decadent and
>encourages self indulgence.

I had a discussion yesterday about the loss of cultural diversity. I'm not
worried about it because I see people who devote themselves to the
preservation of skills and practices which have no practical application in
modern society. According to David Brin, more people spin thread on a
wheel today than in the middle ages.

My friend's experience is quite different. She is Chinese, and she sees
people abandoning traditional practices and ways of life in the headlong
rush towards modernity and materialism.

I told her that I thought Chinese people would start to take an interest in
their heritage and cultural identity once they'd achieved material
stability. I've twice lived in Japan, a very stable society from a
material point of view. The Japanese are obsessed with their history and
cultural identity. They rushed to embrace Western practices durring the
Meiji restoration and then again after WWII, but now that they've got the
resources to spare, they've taken great pains to preserve their cultural

This story seemed relavant to me in that Stephen reported having read that
primativism was something only comfortable people would be interested in,
and I think that applies to cultural identity as well. Food, shelter, and
BMW come first, but once those needs are taken care of people get
interested in their roots.

My Chinese freind would, at this point, chastise me for making overly-broad
generalizations, and she'd be right to do so. Still, I think there's
something to the generalization.



You will propagate the C memetic complex.
You will be Conscious of your role as memetic vector.
Resistance is futile.