brad brace

9/26/2006

Revitalization

Filed under: art,bangladesh,General,global islands — admin @ 6:38 am

A maintaining dynamic provides stability, while a modernizing dynamic forces change. We tend to be satisfied with a view of the world as a theatre of conflict between stability and change. Collecting a congeries of phenomena under the rubric of modernization, we project a future that will be purified in a certain direction. With only the craven desire for stability to overcome, the victory of modernization seems assured, and the world must progress toward the mechanized, the artificial, the commercial, the secular, the individual, and the international. There is, however, an oppositional force of self-conscious resistance on behalf of the bodily, the natural, the creative, the sacred, the collective, and the local. This countervailing force is underestimated because we have not yet learned, as we have with modernization, to gather its disparate signs under one label.
Oppositional actions do not connect directly; they align independently in negative response to modernization, the force also called, depending upon context, progress, development, secularization, industrialization, westernization, or colonialism. The goal is not maintenance; the orientation is progressive, but the dynammic is recursive. The mind scans the past to imagine the future. Consider the popularity of hobbies involving handicraft, the concern for environmental conservation and historic preservation, the profusion of civic festivals, the resurgence of ethnic identity, the escalation of nativism, and nationalism, the institution of reactionary values in politics and education, the convergence of alternative ideology and spiritual yearning in religious revival, the new age cults, in Christianity and Judaism, in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. In detail it is too much to encompass: The Mahabharata in ninety-three installments on Indian television, mosques destroyed in Bosnia and built in Afghanistan, powpows in Oklahoma, martial arts in Japan, new music in Colombia, glass painting in Poland and Romania, rosemaling in Norway and Wisconsin, political order in Iran, rebellion in Chechnya, separatism in Quebec, fundamentalism in Christianity, the Mao cult in China, Kwanzaa in Philadelphia, the Eid parade in Dhaka city, Saraswati Puja at Jagannath Hall. But take it all together, name it revitalization, and it is a power to balance modernization.

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