The Culture Curry

Time has been a witness to many cultures and counter cultures of this world. Some have successfully made their mark, while a few others have got lost in oblivion. It is really interesting to observe that – though the human race has been so diverse in its origins and thought processes, often there has been a single, visible, significant and influential event, that have entwined the collective imaginative capacities of the entire human race. Of course, there are exceptions since no experiment or random observations have been able to free themselves form its clutches. Yes exceptions do exist!

To me, (in this present context and in my limited understanding) the world has been through four visible, significant and influential cultures.

During the Ancient period (before fifth century), ‘Philo + Sophia’ ruled the senses of the intellectual man. The term ‘philo’ means ‘love of’ or ‘love for’, while the term ‘sophia’ means ‘wisdom’. Man sought wisdom and in its persuasion emerged the distinct foundations of science, philosophy and metaphysics. It began with the oral traditions and ended with affirming the basics and foundations of arguably everything! I would like to address it as the Thought Culture. Man expressed themselves with the help of their thoughts. Man sought, argued, debated, fought and recorded during this culture.

During the Medieval period (from fifth to fifteenth century) man had moved to the next level – the Art Culture. Foundations for all kinds of art were laid during this period (music, painting, literature, etc). The most interesting thing during this period was that art always imitated life.

During the Modern period (from sixteenth to nineteenth century) man expressed himself though words. It was the Word Culture. Though its foundations were laid during the Art Culture, it was during this Word Culture – norms were challenged, theories were written, concepts were developed, reformation movements were led, freedom struggles were fought. It was all words and words and words.

During the Post Modern Period (twentieth century onwards) man expressed himself though visuals which led to the birth of the Visual Culture. Not only are the concepts of all the foregone periods challenged, but they are also vehemently dismissed and thrown out of the window. The ‘self’ has taken centre stage and it paints itself through television, internet, video games, comics, logos, lenses, and screens. But the sad thing here, in this culture, is that life has started imitating the arts and not the other way round. And hence the birth of ‘the great boredom syndrome’, ‘Prozac Nations’, etc!!

Finding it difficult to believe, still. Even dictionaries have gone visual now! Check out

The posts which would eventually fall in this category, is dedicated to the Visual Culture of our times!!


~ by rb on September 12, 2008.

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