Not long ago, I personally carried out a survey by asking different age groups what was the first thing that came up to their minds when the word attraction was mentioned. Surprisingly, the range of received answers revolved mostly around either true romanticism, relationships and magnetism- in an infrequent case. Consequently, these inconclusive answers encouraged me to explore in a more comprehensive way our current mechanism of attraction and how our social behaviour is inevitably influenced by a “conception factory”.
The predominant strands of thought in western societies associate the origins of democratic thinking and democracy per se with a number of classical Greek philosophers and their antiqual city-states. Conventionally referred to as ‘Athenian Democracy’, it preceded the Roman Republic which followed suit until 27 B.C and other novel democratic institutions such as the parliamentary Corts Catalanes ─ its origins tracing back to the Assemblees de Pau i Treva around 1021 A.D ─ and the Cortes de Léon established in 1188 A.D. Indeed, despite scholarly divisions over the specific date at which these city-states shifted from societal ‘protodemocracy’ to institutional ‘democracy’, most historians situate it around the Solonian reforms of the early 6th Century B.C (Christ, 2008: 513). As for the tremendous classical heritage these Hellenic polities brought forward to the historical formation and evolution of democracies, it suffices to say the entire discussion of this article is framed around an etymology deriving from the ancient Greek word demos[people]-kratie[power].
The term 'democracy’ has accrued tremendous normative baggage over the centuries, once negative but now more positive. In this gradual development of the concept it has become further and further ingrained in common consciousness as an unassailable 'third-rail’- something no one is willing to touch, let alone dispute its efficacy in society at large. The liberal model of representative democracy that has become the basis of our relationship to political action and expression has fundamentally failed in its mission to enable a real discourse between citizen and state. It has instead separated the two parties, allowing them to operate almost independently. The state is not tied to the will of those who sustain it, but has been alienated so far from this role, becoming more of a passive administrator that only allows input from those it commands and indentures on a timescale of years rather than months or weeks. In this tract we will openly discuss the shortfalls of this sacred calf and reach an understanding of democracy as something hostile to the individual and to individual political action.
By adapting the 2nd law of thermodynamics to our economic system MUSE seems to warn us about how in a society led by consumerism, mankind seems to have started a race which could end with its annihilation. With all that we have learned about the impact of global warming on our environment it would be wrong to dismiss this out of hand. To avoid such a result, disparate voices have offered a variety of alternate methods. Whereas some promote a society free of capitalist thoughts, such as the degrowth movement, others still think the very DNA of capitalism could be transformed to embrace environmentalism. This branch of thought has led to the rise of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
When I think about the word ‘fellowship’ the first thing that came to my mind was the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. And even though, I love it and J.R.R. Tolkien is a genius writer, I could not help myself thinking that such powerful word could be narrowed in my mind to Frodo Baggins’ and his companions fantasy adventure. That feeling of helplessness encouraged me to rethink about the idea of Fellowship and share it, perhaps in a non-conclusive work but sufficiently persuasive to encourage further rethinking on its readers.
This is less of a question of inheriting the culture of ones’ parents through their genetics, or that culture itself is ingrained to the genetic makeup of each cultural group– there is little question that such a thing is possible– but more a question of how much of what we call ‘culture’ exists in all of us.
If the confirmation bias, this desire to be surrounded by and exposed to likeminded people is natural then why should we be concerned that facebook, twitter and other news feeds are becoming ‘personalised’ and offering ‘tailor made news’ ? There are two main reasons I will explore here and suggest to — rather, I will plead with — you to reject the personalised news feeds and the next time you’re offered to have your news ‘streamlined’ , ‘tailor-made’ or made ‘just for you’ , say NO !
Today, the march of globalisation and progress act as forces of entropy to homogenise culture and identity. This is the “air that kills” that is blowing incessantly in the modern world. These forces cannot be indefinitely resisted, which is why conservativism is an inherently pessimistic ideology. As Lord Salisbury said: “Politics is delay”. Tradition is the tool we use to inject social capital on the local level to delay cultural entropy, in the doomed hope of resisting it on a global level. I take traditions to be activities that are performed collectively by civil society or (occasionally) the state that are repeated over time, treated reverently, reinforce a sense of place and have no immediate useful purpose. They might be the State Opening of Parliament, country shows, church services, marriage, curious uniforms and manners and etiquette, to name some randomly. They are a secular communion that reaffirm the values and social connections within a country, community and family. Tradition is a therefore a conservative state of mind and evokes the same ideas of habit, settlement, inheritance and membership that we can also see in Houseman’s poetry.
The term ‘Tradition’ is almost always used pejoratively in modern Western political discourse. Tradition is seen as a weight in the pursuit of a freer world, as opposed to rational individual thought, or even as an obstacle of progress. The defence of tradition’s futility – to put it mildly - is nowadays certainly an easier task than an appraisal of its utility. However, that is only the case before one has tackled the ‘traditional’ misconceptions of the term and discovered its profound necessity for a nation.