Culture and societal transformations

Posted on Oct 31, 2022

I stumbled upon Why we failed to approve the new Chilean constitution: the need for a cultural transformation this morning while browsing twitter. Quoting:

I cannot stop thinking about Pepe Mujica’s sentence in his documentary, “the most important transformation is not political, but cultural.” We failed to approve the new constitution because we haven’t addressed the need for a cultural transformation that would allow us to negotiate a new set of values with one another. The proposed new constitution was based on values such as solidarity, ecocentrism, probity, good governance, and territorial autonomy, which seem far from something that the majority of voters could agree on.

Though I do not quite agree with the points made in the article, I think the main premise is probably right. I have very little to say on culture, apart from the fact that it is needed and it is all around me. I went through life having a very “materialistic” view of the world: you are what you consume. My idea of fairness, justice etc, focused on free time, access to good housing, good clothing, cheap transport, good food, fun social relationships, combined with a quest for truth.

In the last two-three years I’ve started to feel like there is more in life. Culture does play an active role in shaping people, beyond simple pleasures. I still don’t fully “grok” it (why do symbols matter? why do they give meaning?), but there is something deeper here.