If in a family, in a company, in a nation everybody wants to have his way at the expense of the other, the notions of democracy, equality and freedom are thrown overboard. The relativization of everything by one's personal circumstance, though intellectually intelligible, can be used as a pretext and licence to throw the acquis of millennia of human civilization over board and to legitimize precivilized total predatorism. Thus culturalism and relativism become a dangerous -ism, comparable to the fascisms and communisms etc. of the past century, yet quantitatively magnified because so many would like to expand their ISM, their cultural and religious and ethnic ISM which means reducing that of others'. This centrifugal tendency challenges the response of centripetal forces to keep societies viable. The centrifugal and the centripetal, the universalist and particularist tendencies need to be reconciled. This is the only way to ensure viable human societies,which ensure individual freedom while maintaining functional collectivities: the best of individual uniqueness and collective uniqueness, the superiority of a functional totality. This is the royal path, the cultural superhighway into the future. The metaphor of the highway is very apropos, because there, in order to ensure maximum speed and efficiency in the respect of everybody's direction a very strict highway code has to be adhered to. Only by meeting the standards of this code of conduct, everybody's individual freedom is ensured. So individual freedom presupposes universal rules to be respected in order to ensure individual freedom while safeguarding the freedom of everybody. It is the formula of freedom for everybody and the realization of the deepest human aspiration.
Relativism makes sense if it is thought through to its logical end, that is, if one does not only want to see one's own relative culture imposed, but if one also admits another culture's or individual's relativism and provided that we are reconciling it with the whole, with everybody's relative needs. Then we have solved relativism at least intellectually. But the competing relative position is viewed as a threat to the imposition of one's own relative approach which would like to be universally applicable. A third quid is necessary to resolve the perennial conflict between competing relativisms. The technical term centrifugality - and its needs to be checked physically in order to prevent the destabilizations of systems - is an apt term to summarize individualism, particularism and relativism. Increasing that centrifugality indefinitely needs the checks and balances by centripetality. The physics metaphor, here again, is useful because it is technical.
- Quote paper
- D.E.A./UNIV. PARIS I Gebhard Deissler (Author), 2011, Cultural Engineering - Beyond Cultural Relativism, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/178681