Movements “versus” culture shifting

This is from Leavergirl, over at Leaving Babylon. I think she’s onto something.

In brief, I see a movement as an organized body of people that sets goals and marches toward them (hopefully), while getting in the face of PTB and making a nuisance of themselves in the process, trying to prod and push the PTB to change. They employ the media in spreading their message and their successes and hope for greater and greater participation at their events, and more money coming in via fundraisers. (Yeah, a loudmouth! You got it!) And so on. A culture shift, on the other hand, relies on the subtle and discreet (though not necessarily unnoticed) actions of various groups and individuals who are loosely unified by shared vision or shared heartache, but not by goals. They do not seek publicity, though individual culture-shift artists may, or an event may grow so big that publicity cannot be avoided. The idea is to undertake interesting and inspiring events etc. that are meaningful in their own right, and then watching with interest what that might do to the cultural fabric. It does not have goals, it has surprises.

A lot of the same people do both, though not necessarily at the same moments. One of the things movements I’ve been in have been very bad at is what I call the “micro” moments – sat down at extended family meals with the racist jerkwad uncle (every family has one) who wants to bait you with their ignorant rants. How do “you” as as a member of a movement/culture shift deal effectively with that? A bad – “full on” example. Most of these teachable/learnable moments are less confrontational, and all the more slippery for it…

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3 Responses to Movements “versus” culture shifting

  1. Jay D says:

    Yes, the hardest thing is to be forced to submit to confrontation with another person’s movie, meta-dream, sub-reality, which demands you play along when you truly cannot relate to such a life. Problem is, no matter what the game, if it’s skewed by someone else’s terms, like the classic bad-seed uncle at the mandatory family event (who may actually just be the only one bold enough to enact what others hold true toward strangers like “us”), our terms are inevitably weakened and so our position cannot possibly hold sway enough on its own terms. Result: built-in unfairness. Our reality, our way of life, may hold steady within us during and after such encounters and relations with the world, and our structures may stand, but we will be made to look “bad” if at all possible by and to those controlling the game, to others in its thrall.

    So…i really like re-imagining of how change will realistically be able to spread in cultures, as a result of minimal interference by those coming from closed minds and hearts. Which brings one to social institutions such as old-school movements and organizations. New ground rules (and less thereof) mean the hostile and tiresome game is not only no longer necessary, but it is no longer an option.

  2. dwighttowers says:

    I suppose what I imagine is that the damage is minimised in those meetings where “the battle” is not taking place on the ground of your choosing (i.e. ambushed over the Thanksgiving turkey) and that you come away looking like the informed, compassionate one, and the attacker looks like the ignorant hater that they are. How do individuals gain those mental and emotional skills to deal with that, to have grace under pressure? Partly via particpation in “movements” I guess. If the movements (or, to use Leavergirl’s superior formulation – culture-shifters) take those micromoments seriously, instead of just lobbying and vote-grubbing for the Latest Saviour ™…

  3. Pingback: Culture-shifting, Dickwad Uncles and tooling up for those teachable moments «

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