We know an oral literature helps shape a culture, is, thus, "conditioning" - it closes around a child, makes her a "Haida" - it narrows her theoretically infinite choices of what to be. And we know this to be inevitable. But already something else is at work. The oral traditions of the world (and our civilized literatures in their debt) carry within them the seeds of self o'er-leaping. The stories we hear as children do put us in place and give us models and possibilities to dream after; before long we are Amish or Hopi or Jew or Atheist Radical White Kid.
In the 1960s and the decades thereafter, campaigns against racial racial indecency gained unprecedented support in mounting countless challenges to racist cultural artifacts. Scores of landmarks on official maps, for example once bore such names as Nigger Lake, Niggerhead Hill, and Old Nigger Creek. Nigger we have seen, can have many meanings. But in the context of naming landmarks - an endeavor monopolized until recently by white men - it is clear that the nigger memorialized on maps was not the nigger of irony or affection but the nigger of insult and contempt.
A curse on monocultural industrial civilization and its almost deified economic and political systems that compete, exploit, and then give vast wealth and power to tiny few while draining and scattering the cultural and natural wealth of our planet.
A persuasive case can be made, after all, that the patriarchal overvaluation of power and control—at the expense of mutuality, toleration, or nurturance—can be held to account for almost all that is politically reprehensible and morally lamentable in the world. The case can be made as well that what is most badly needed are, at least for a start, visions of something different, something else.”
Except in Architecture, Modernists got started precisely by rejecting that heroic materialism of the nineteenth-century and much more, including positivism, scientific determinism, the idea of progress, and the moral faith that went with it. From an aesthetic (as opposed to a historical) point of view, modern architecture may have just begun.