America is Thickening

 

 

In a thin culture, an object simply is what it is.  What you see is what you get.

As a culture gets thicker, often objects are more than simply objects.   Objects become signifiers, with meaning.  They have an entire range of associations, implications, resonances, rhymes, stories, powers, taboos, rules.  One doesn't use them in certain ways - only certain people, at certain times, under special circumstances, after performing the correct rituals and genuflections.  A thick culture is one of profound obligations, more than can be contained by the rational mind.

It's probably inevitable that America is thickening.  There's probably nothing that can be done to stop it.  Besides, it's probably a good thing.  It's probably better to be a thicker culture.  But there is a trade-off.  You gain something (can you call it wisdom?) but you lose something (can you call it clarity?).

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