By merely writing this post, according to Crouch, I am creating culture. Culture, he says, is a “relentless, restless human effort to take the world as it’s given to us and make something else”. By assembling this post, I’m literally taking a writing prompt and a blank screen of pixels and turning them into a conduit for my own personal, and arguably semi-original, thoughts about culture and the very interpretation of culture.
Crouch says that the two aspects of culture are creating and interpreting creation, our own creation and the creation of others. I am creating a post with the purpose of interpreting what Crouch says, so therefore in a very real sense I am creating culture.
I feel as though Crouch certainly has a point about culture being simply what is created and how we interpret that which we create. For example, great works of literature can shape an entire society: Whether by attempting to explain origins to influencing a society by being interpreted and translated to reflect the ideas of others. Thus are outlets like music, religion, literature, and philosophy so impactful on culture; they actually are creating subcultures rather than changing the collective whole.
When a new song, theology, book, or idea come about, it is often and immediately compared to what the current/previous culture had to say about the same topic. Only after this is it then considered by its own merit – does it present enough information or make a good enough case for us to change society’s collective reasoning? Further, does it succeed enough to change what an individual thinks? Does culture have enough influence to create revolution? Sometimes the answer to such questions is yes, leading to a dramatic “change” in culture; in fact perhaps a new culture, spawned by the influence of this new material.
What becomes real interesting is when the answer to the question is no because by all facts and circumstances, a new culture is formed just the same. The difference is that it’s a culture that rejects those ideals and patterns commonly accepted by society. A wonderful example of this can be witnessed through the popular British rock band The Beatles. The Beatles are often considered revolutionary to an entire generation. They presented a type of music that, at its most basic level, a generation decided was acceptable despite being viewed as a counterculture movement by many, and then actually created a culture around that music. The stereotype was that another generation, namely the parents of the generation who welcomed the band’s influence, rejected the idea The Beatles presented and thus created their own culture as a result. Their interpretation of what The Beatles represented, whether it was an interpretation that coincided with what was intended by The Beatles or not, allowed them to create a culture that prohibited The Beatles and anyone who shared their ideals.
In the event that you don’t realize the significance in this- the culture of individuals who rejected the ideals of The Beatles as being countercultural actually created their own culture in doing so. Then as the general consensus began to accept The Beatles’ influence, these same individuals became the counterculture itself. Thus is the relativity of culture according to Crouch and why, by merely building this post, I’ve created a culture unto itself.