Taboo Truths

The concept of Cultural Maturity highlights how the critical tasks before us as a species require that we think and act in newly sophisticated ways. We can appreciate this challenge by noting how often today’s essential questions demand that we recognize truths that in times past would have been taboo to acknowledge. Before now, these basic truths would have overwhelmed us. Cultural Maturity’s changes help us tolerate these truths and to see how their implications, in the end, propel us forward. A few examples—from very different spheres—follow, with links to blog posts and to the site library:

1) The nuclear genie is out of the bottle. (Efforts at disarmament are to be applauded. But disarmament can’t be thought of as a final solution. That solution must lie in ourselves.)

2) Neither the political left nor the political right has the answer. (Each can capture at best half of the needed systemic picture.)

3) Health care cost containment will require a maturity in our relationship with death that before now would not have been humanly possible. (Real cost containment can’t happen without rationing, and consciously withholding care that could be helpful is effectively to choose death. Putting an end to spiraling costs will make other death-related hot-button issues like abortion and assisted suicide look like child’s play.)

4) We don’t have to know that climate change is real and caused by our human actions to take it very seriously. (We get all the evidence we need from the most basic understanding of systemic risk assessment.)

5) Science can’t explain everything no matter how good the research (though it can explain a huge amount that is of great importance).

6) Religion similarly doesn’t have some last word—and certainly no particular religion has the last word (though religious/spiritual understanding can engage us in experience that is of great importance).

7) The United States and Western Europe will never again be the world’s sole economic powers. (But they could provide a kind of world leadership that is ultimately much more important).

8) Modern institutional democracy is not some final ideal. (Though of huge historical significance, in fact it stops short of real government by the people. Such fully representative government requires a further step in culture’s evolution).

9) Romantic Love is not some final and ideal form of love. (It too is of great historical importance. But, in a similar way, it is not yet love as individual choice in the sense we imagine it to be.)

10) Our time’s preeminent art form, hands down, is advertising. With this, art, today, has, in effect, become its opposite. (Art’s historical function has been to give voice to just emerging capacities in the psyche of culture—to the cutting edge of truth. Advertising is a mere form of manipulation—often outright lying. Art that matters in the future will require a rethinking and reclaiming of art’s significance.)

11) The way we’ve defined progress in the Modern Age cannot work for the future. (Not only can it not continue to take us forward, it inevitably creates a house-of-cards reality.)

That is just a small handful of dozens more we could note.