7 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2022
    1. The origin of the term “culture” is best documented by the comparative literature scholar Raymond Williams, who charted its appearance in his book Culture and Society, 1780-1950. At the beginning of the 18th century, “culture” was still only a verb. It meant to cultivate the land, to encourage natural growth: the culture of leeks or potatoes or gardens. But inevitably, the term was applied to mean the “cultivation” of the social conditions for a healthy society.

      The origin of the term "culture"

    2. Internet-spawned subcultures are clearly providing one answer. And if so, it makes sense that people look to subculture-affiliated brands as part of their meaning-making journey.

      What's the purpose? Meaning-making is something we cannot live without. So we run towards the first who is providing meaning to us. Real-time, compatible, cheap, and delivered for free, at home.

    3. Unlimited availability and optionality among consumer goods has staged the final competitive battleground in the space of immaterial value, where there is no ceiling on “cultural value add” managers can jazz up a product with. Is it any surprise that brands want to become culture itself?

      The Star Trek's replicator is going to be a thing?

    4. While companies like SHEIN and ZARA are known for the tight vertical integration that enables real-time, demand-aware manufacturing, API-ification has happened across the entire supply chain. Companies like CA.LA let you spin up up a fashion line as fast as you’d spin up a new Digital Ocean droplet, whether you’re A$AP Ferg or hyped NYC brand Vaquera. Across the board, brands and middleware were opening new supply chains, which then became accessible entrepreneurs targeting all sorts of subcultural plays. And with Shopify, Squarespace, and Stripe, you can open an online store and accept payments in minutes. Once the goods are readily available, everything becomes a distribution problem—a matter of finding a target demographic and making products legible to it.

      Everything becomes a distribution problem

    5. As I tried to understand how “culture” is transmitted, I came to understand that in order to be a part of a culture, you have to learn to participate in these elements. That’s how a culture becomes part of your identity: you learn to use the language, you read the community lore online, you post photos with the same aesthetic, and you know you’re “fitting in” when you start to get reblogs. And naturally, you buy objects too. By the end of this journey towards “fitting in,” you can tell your own story of membership and identity in the community (Wenger & Lave, 1991). Yet it is also clear that a crucial element of participation is practice. You can cut your hair like a skater and dress like a skater, but if you can’t do an ollie you’re not a skater. You can buy testosterone enhancer and maca root powder, but if you don’t post your gains, are you really a bodybuilder? Subcultures have these practices, participatory elements that I call “central” to what they are.

      Culture is transmitted not only by adopting its customs but by participating in it. You're not a true Trekker if you cannot mention by heart key quotes from Mr. Spock and you binge-watch the classic series.

    6. It seemed to me that you could understand cultures by analyzing their interconnected components. Cultures have their own language, objects, and knowledge; their own stories, aesthetics, practices, people, and places that all make sense together in a coherent way. They have behaviors they condone and reward, and behaviors they deem unworthy. And each has its own moral sensibility.

      A Systems Thinking approach to understand culture.

  2. Mar 2022
    1. The Future is Vast: Longtermism’s perspective on humanity’s past, present, and futureIf we manage to avoid a large catastrophe, we are living at the early beginnings of human historyby Max RoserMarch 15, 2022The point of this text is not to predict how many people will ever live. What I learned from writing this post is that our future is potentially very, very big. This is what I try to convey here.If we keep each other safe – and protect ourselves from the risks that nature and we ourselves pose – we are only at the beginning of human history.