On Culture

June 18, 2020

Lately I’ve been thinking about culture in the broadest of all possible senses, including human behaviour, language, knowledge, beliefs, art, technologies, and so on. Obviously these aspects (and many others) change across time and space, sometimes apparently slowly, while at others very rapidly, as one looks through the centuries, or across the terrain.

By what mechanisms does it change? Is this change generally gradual or sudden? Who changes it, if anyone at all can be said to do so?

This post will introduce a series of posts about what culture is and whether culture can be said to evolve. It is part of the thinking I’ve been doing about the avant-garde, as well as the question of whether humans are getting more plastic.

I know almost nothing of the history of this question, so I’m seeking to learn in public. This is not a disclaimer so much as a request to bear with me, as I sense this is a controversial topic. If you know more about the history of this question, I’d love to hear from you.

  1. Does art evolve?
  2. Paper Disintegrates
  3. Cultivation of the Soul

This series is on hold, temporarily, but will eventually connect to a larger series On Revolutions.

I'm Bryan Kam. I'm thinking about complexity and selfhood. Please sign up to my newsletter or see more here.