If the goal of this autonomous idea, this living breathing notion made of countless people and places and things, is ever realized—if the West ever truly conquers the entire world, and reduces the last archipelagos of individuality to miniature Manhattans—the inhabitants of that future world may find themselves not only disappointed with their inability to go anywhere to see anything new or different, but also with the plain fact of this process’s irreversibility.
Though I can’t prove it, I suspect that you can destroy culture in an instant, in the flash of a well-aimed nuclear explosive, but to create a culture, to build a rich and unique identity, a literature, a language, a custom, a tradition of painting and sculpture and architecture, a mythology, a history, a politeness—isn’t that somewhat miraculous? Isn’t that somewhat impossible for human beings to consciously do?—to create a culture that’s believed in, that’s taken seriously—doesn’t that only come about as the result of centuries of outside forces acting upon human beings?
I’ve made esoteric assumption after abstract assumption here, and masked these assumptions by posing them as questions—all are meant merely to provoke thought. Hopefully it hasn’t been too boring.