Life is a stage. But sometimes all of us are so minuscule that… none of us really matter. Because we are greater than the sum of our individual parts. In such contexts, we can only play the part of observers. Observers of culture. Yet it’s never easy to step back from something intangible that we are unconsciously a part of.
You may feel that deepening our understanding of everyday life is not worth the effort. It does require effort. Yet if you do not make this effort, you cannot truly take charge of your life and become a better person. Because culture does not exist separate from us; culture is embodied in each of us. We know what’s normal; we feel it in our guts. But our minds are much more clouded than our guts. We need to challenge our minds.
To gain knowledge about everyday life, you must step out of your shoes and put yourselves in those of others. The obvious way is to go onto the streets and observe others in action and conversation. Yet as individuals, our interpretations can be bound by preconceptions. It will help to nestle in libraries and learn from academics and writers. They too have preconceptions, so we cannot only rely on them.
Hence this repository of knowledge.
I prioritize agency over structure here. This does not mean I ignore structure. I often implicate themes like power, inequality and socialization, which implicate the roles of institutions within the respective domains. But I do so not for its own sake, but to find possibilities for change within the constraints of everyday life. I believe that the big cultural questions of our time have to be answered by individuals first and foremost.
My expectation is that bit by bit, this blog can become far more than the sum of its parts.
My hope is that we can each become far more than the sum of society’s prescribed parts.
It doesn’t matter which stage of life you are in. It only matters that you reach the stage when you can thrive in your everyday life.
Let us try together.