Culture is the problem, Culture is the solution

March 11, 2024

As I've slowly been convalescing from my injury, my body faces new challenges. In the meantime, I'm able to type pretty normally again, so I'm back to trying to establish a publishing rhythm.

I've been formulating a solution to the current human condition of violence and discrimination, and while I intend to publish my manifesto more formally in the coming days, I thought I would spitball a little here to warm up.

Culture is like a virus, it spreads. Media helps spread culture rapidly, and being that most people carry little media devices in their pockets everywhere (aka "phones"), culture has potential to spread quickly. But what is culture?

Culture is a set of values, and there are two types of values: aesthetic values and personal values. Your aesthetics are your superficial values, the colors, rhythms, flavors, shapes, and scents you prefer. Your personal values indicate how you think people should be treated.

The value I would like to focus on today is violence. A culture that permits violence as a means of acheiving what it wants is a threat to all humanity. Violence is a virus that spreads by enacting violence. Imposing violence onto others teaches and reaffirms a culture of violence, perpetuating the "cycle of violence". Violence as a value indicates an immaturity of that culture, and maintaining violence as a primary means of expression is unsustainable for all of humanity.

The "might makes right" culture of the West is in direct contradiction to its stated values of human rights and democracy. This hypocrisy is an indication of corruption as another fundamental value of Western systems: when your actions are in contradiction with your stated values and purpose, you are corrupt. "Might makes right" is a bully's tactic. If you watched a bully harrassing and beating a helpless person, is it your duty to stand up for the victim? Probably, yes. But you yourself might be afraid of then being attacked by the bully. But what about if the whole world is watching bullies abuse helpless people? Can we all stand up together against this kind of behavior? We can, but it's not clear how we can stop the imperialist bullies. If we resort to violence, as the resistance movement in Palestine has, that is insufficient in the long run. The bullies have bigger guns, and are clearly willing to resort to even deeper depravity. So our action ultmately must be creative expression, as opposed to the destructive expressions of violence.

Artists have immense power at this moment to intentionally disseminate culture rapidly. Normalizing sustainable values is the job of the radical artist, and we must find ways of penetrating every corner of society with these values, even the top levels of government and establishment. With the advent of the internet, artists have the opportunity to more effectively spread culture globally than ever before in the history of humanity.

So back to violence: violence is a destructive form of expression that spreads via its expression. You teach violence by being violent. To those of us who have experienced violence but instead choose to commit to constructive forms of expression instead, you are the evolution of humanity. It is up to us to maintain our commitment to creative expression as a sustainable approach to conflict. We must organize and teach others this culture of expression. We must choose our values intentionally, promoting sustainable values with the goal of making these values normal. Values like violence, supremacy, and corruption must be replaced by creative expression, unity, and integrity.

So it is my imperative to organize artists who agree with these statements and who are willing to intentionally make work with these values in mind. Once we are unified, then we begin to have power to stop the bullying, and to help these bullies reclaim their own humanity. Manifesto coming soon.

Profile picture

Yazan uses this site to share his ideas on creating a sustainable future together