Vanguards of Culture
posted on 01 Aug 2019
Humans are full of inconsistency, and so is very order we created. Cultures (wether we talk about companies, societies, civilisations) are human inventions which urge us to act, think and value things in a certain way. These “artificial instincts” called culture enable us to cooperate with millions of unknown individuals. But no culture or human created order is in and of itself “complete” but full of contradictions. You find these contradictions even in the highest intellectual achievements of our species like maths and physics.
If we were not able to hold completely contradictory believes at the same time, we would not be able to survive in modern society. But cultures always have been in a state of continuous change. The development and progression of each culture happens by trying to solve these contradictions. Addressing these contradictions means going to the margins of the culture. It’s no surprise that most periods of art had their peak after a deep societal crises. If you want to fully understand a culture, don’t just ask what everyone is agreeing upon but ask the question no one has yet an answer for.
The value of great art lies in its contribution to lay bare the hypocrisies, to make us laugh and cry about ourselves. It puts us back in touch with our own humanity. But art creates also an alternative reality, even if it’s just for a few moments of its act or performance. Art creates moments of breakthroughs. This is why artists are the vanguards of each culture.
Inspired by Dr. Cornel West and Yuval Noah Harari.