This page introduces a section containing the following pages:
This chart is an overview of Meaningness and Time: the past, present, and future of culture, society, and our selves.
The choiceless mode of understanding meaning has no “becauses.” Explanations are unnecessary because you are unaware of any alternatives.
Systems of society, culture, and the self were the foundation of the modern world. Their glories have passed.
Invented traditions and timeworn futures are ideological time-distortion strategies. Highly effective in propaganda.
How and why modernity failed. All systems of meaning—religious, political, artistic, psychological—began to fall apart. Nihilism seemed the only alternative.
Modernity was built on certainty in science and mathematics. That was revealed as delusional during the early 20th century.
The hippies and the Moral Majority both tried to rescue systematic eternalism—and failed. We live amongst their wreckage.
Countercultures defined as new, alternative, universalist, eternalist, anti-rational systems: there were two in the late 20th century.
The hippie counterculture was structurally and functionally similar to the Moral Majority Christian Right counterculture a decade later.
The Schaeffer family, hippie gurus, created the American Religious Right. Too late, they realized they had created a monster: a tragedy in the ancient style.
How—and why!—countercultures sought to reform psychologies and polities: to counteract alienation, anxiety, and anomie.
The 1960s-80s countercultures abandoned rationality because they believed it negated all meaning. They were wrong.
The 1960s-80s countercultures dissolved the boundaries between self and society, ethical and political—setting us up for decades of culture war.
In the 1960s-80s, American politics shifted from economic to sacredness issues. This damaged public discourse, but created a new two-track class system.
The Religious Right and New Age Left both promoted time-distorting meta-myths—imaginary past golden ages and implausible future utopias—to hide their defects.
Fundamentalism is not traditional; it is a modern, countercultural movement, opposed to tradition and to post-modernity.
The hippie and Moral Majority movements both developed broad, deep cultures, with innovative approaches to every aspect of life, from music to dentistry.
Failure to find new foundations for meaning, to recognize diversity, to provide community, and to transcend opposition: all doomed counterculturalism.
The culture war, political polarization, Baby Boomer bafflement: the unending zombie slugfest pairing the two countercultures of the 1960s-80s.
At root, the culture war is not about abortion, gay marriage, or marijuana. It is about shared misunderstandings of the nature of meaning.
The subcultural era (1975-2000) recognized the diversity of meanings, and provided a new type of supportive, voluntary social group.
With no responsibility to justify universal norms, or for solving social problems, subcultures were freed to play with meanings.
“Archipelago” is a political model in which everyone can choose what social system to live in. It’s impractical, but points to better solutions.
How muggles and sociopaths invade and undermine creative subcultures; and how to stop them.
The global internet atomizes cultures, societies, and selves into tiny brilliant shards. Meaning has lost context and coherence. Now what?
Cultural atomization—the widespread loss of conceptual coherence—has made serious intellectual work much more difficult in the twenty-teens.
Fluidity addresses the atomization of culture, society, and self with ships that sail the sea of meaning: collaborative, improvised, intimate, and playful.
From fundamentalism to atomization, different modes of relating to meaning overemphasize pattern or nebulosity.
This page is in the section Meaningness and Time: past, present, future.
Click on terms with dotted underlining to read a definition.
The book is a work in progress; pages marked ⚒︎ are under construction.