Adapted from Cultural Maturity: A guidebook for the Future:
Advocates of We’ve Arrived conclusions regard the present as a cultural end point, as most people through history have done with regard to their particular present. They assume that current institutions and ways of thinking—political, religious, scientific, or economic—at most need a bit of further polishing.
Modern Western We’ve Arrived scenarios elevate (alone or in combination) the structures and assumptions of established democratic forms, free market capitalism, contemporary monotheistic religion, material progress, scientific objectivity, individualism, and modern aesthetics. We’ve Arrived assumptions may be ardently held or just assumed. They define much of modern consensus reality. We’ve Arrived scenarios’ prescription for the future? Keep doing what we are doing, and see if we can get others to follow out example.
The concept of Cultural Maturity strongly affirms the achievements of the Modern Age. But it also proposes that there is no more reason to assume we’ve arrived at some culminating truth in our age than in any age previous—and every reason to hope that we have not. It regards neither modern institutional structures nor modern social values and aesthetics as last chapters. It argues that carrying modern Western culture’s great successes unmodified into the future—in particular its onward and upward conception of progress and its extreme materialist, individualist values, but also its specific institutional structures—would, in fact, have most unfortunate consequences. It also counsels against assuming that modern Western cultural forms represent ideals to which people everywhere, irrespective of their cultural context, should ascribe.