Living in the Age of Imposed Amnesia: The Eclipse of Democratic Formative Culture

Imposed amnesia is the modus operandi of the current moment. Not only is historical memory now sacrificed to the spectacles of consumerism, celebrity culture, hyped-up violence and a market-driven obsession with the self, but the very formative culture that makes compassion, justice and an engaged citizenry foundational to democracy has been erased from the language of mainstream politics and the diverse cultural apparatuses that support it. Unbridled individualism along with the gospel of profit and unchecked competition undermines both the importance of democratic public spheres and the necessity for a language that talks about shared responsibilities, the public good and the meaning of a just society. Politics is now defined through a language that divorces the ethical imagination from any sense of our ethical responsibilities. Consequently, it becomes increasingly more difficult to connect politics with the importance of what Tony Judt and Zygmunt Bauman have called the social question – with its emphasis on defining society in terms of public values, the common good, spiritual well-being and “an imagined totality woven of reciprocal dependence, commitment, and solidarity.”


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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