Transitioning to 6 virtues

Dear Lene and Thomas:

In Societal Transitions (Chapter 17) you described five codes (eras):

Indigenous cultures are hunter gatherers and early agriculture.

Traditional cultures/pre-modernity: This covers ancient societies from the earliest city-states to feudal Europe in the 1800s plus the Middle East and many other places today . . . 

Modernity: This covers predominantly the West in the post-Darwin, nation-state era: we check assertions of fact and have separated religion/spirituality from governance/politics.

Post-modernity has been characterized as the collapse of all meta-narratives, i.e. religion and political ideologies, and one of the suggested dates for the beginning of the post-modern era is the fall of the Berlin Wall. (pp. 396 & 397)

Meta-modernity thus represents a holistic appreciation of the qualities of all the previous codes. (p. 399)

Then, you wrote:

The codes of post-modernity allow us to analyze and deconstruct all of the narratives, power structures and social constructs above and to keep an ironic distance, and this is fantastic, it just happens to be impossible to build a society on deconstruction and irony, and therefore post-modernity is only a phase-transition. Albeit a crucial one.

The codes of meta-modernity enjoy all of the above in their due time and place. (p. 400)

To explain the role of Bildung, you wrote:

The concept of Bildung was developed as part of the transition to modernity in order to add personal development to the collective epistemology, with Bildung came the tool to describe and judge ego-development in self and others and to encourage young people to first become self-governing and to complete the transition to self-authoring or Moral Man. Bildung was so much a term of the 1800s, it now has a quaint image, but it is one of the most crucial elements in establishing and maintaining democracy and human rights for all. (p.404)

A clearer prescription for establishing and maintaining democracy is adopting the six-virtue definition of the educated person. Cultures/Nations that want to benefit from the Nordic secret should build education systems that teach understanding, imagination, strong character, courage, humility and generosity.

That will be difficult in America because it requires philosophical, imaginative thinking, which goes untaught in our current system of education. Instead, today’s schools emphasize that students need to be able to correctly answer multiple choice questions.

Last night’s 60 Minutes show featured a segment entitled, “Talent on the Spectrum,” which described autistic people who had the ability to deal with large numbers of data points.

To explain his talent, one of them said, “I feel there are a lot of strengths to being on the spectrum, and I think imagination is a huge key trait.”

Bildung requires that citizens be taught all six virtues, including imagination, humility and courage–the virtues ignored in today’s public schools.


There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment