Introduction to My Blog on “Society & Culture”
I have been thinking about what to call my next blog. I have finally settled on “Society & Culture” as this implies a sufficiently broad subject area that will accommodate a variety of topics that I want to discuss. I will explain why I have chosen this title.
I have a decidedly eclectic interest in topics. I have as my foundation an interest in Philosophy. Philosophy is the most basic subject of all, I believe, and it is thanks to my exploration of philosophy, beginning about thirty years ago, that I have branched out to study, both formally and informally, so many subjects.
The subjects I have explored, outside of my professional interests, include the History of Rome, Medieval History (of Western Civilization), Psychology, Cultural Anthropology, Linguistics and my most recent one, Paleoanthropology. All of these topics come have an overarching connection with civilization (with the possible exception for the majority of the history of hominids).
I am not sure what the exact connection is between civilization and society. Perhaps these two terms, from a historical perspective, are synonymous. Civilization goes back about 10,000 years or so, and I think we would probably say about the same for Society. I am using the term society in a broader context than might have been connoted during nineteenth century English literature (as in, “I enjoyed the society of that person”, which implies it is a synonym of ‘company’).
Society is a sufficiently large concept for me to talk about in this blog and have plenty to discuss. The term may be vague, but the idea I want to convey is that of a social group, large or small, or a collection of social groups, that make up a larger population. Perhaps the easiest way to refer to societies today is in the context of sovereign nations. That certainly makes me feel more comfortable when I discuss contemporary U.S. society, even if that idea, or that of any other large contemporary society, is a highly complex one.
Culture is an even more problematic term. I think it might take up too much space, and try the reader’s patience, if I went deeply into my thoughts on culture in the contemporary world. In the broadest terms, culture refers to the collection of ideas, ideologies, and generally accepted beliefs of a group, small or large, of people who have many of these things in common. That may be too facile to satisfy some, but for now that is as far as I will go.
There is also the issue of the dynamics of culture. There are many dynamics, and in this blog I might discuss any number of them. For example, there is a culture of technology today (more so than ever before, I think). Some people who are total strangers might well find themselves involved very quickly in some level of intercourse with others if they discover similar interests in the latest technology. This is something today that can happen anywhere in the world. It might even transcend the importance of oral communication; two IT people who speak different native languages might be able to communicate very quickly and effectively if they have a computer or other modern device in front of them. Just my mentioning the contemporary term ‘social media’ should clearly indicate what I am talking about.
Another dynamic, as an example, that people will quickly relate to, but is still highly complex due to the variety of forms through which it is manifested, is the musical arts (a huge of the arts in general). I am, and have been since I was just a few years old, a big fan of the musical arts. I have stated many times that this world without music would probably not be tolerable. If I need to get a distraction from all of the issues and stressors out there, one of the best ways I know how is immersing myself in some favorite piece, or collection, of music.
There are almost countless dynamics on which I could discuss the topic of culture. I might go in any direction in this blog; however, I want to make an important disclaimer. What I will avoid in this blog is any discussion of the following topics: Religion, Philosophy, Politics, Personal Belief Systems and the most important topic of all, Why we are here on the planet Earth. Those topics are of great interest to me, and perhaps those are the greatest topics one can discuss. However, those topics will be considered in another venue.
I already have the topic of my first post for this new blog. It will be available on this web site before long. That means you have to return soon to see what the excitement (at least for me!) is all about. I appreciate your interest in my ideas and writing.