The Cultural Pluralism, Values and Meaningful Life Project to be realized within Berlin Practical Philosophy International Forum, e.V., aims at showing and discussing the complexity, heritage, and achievements of various cultures in the context of their ideas about the good, worthy, and meaningful life.
Probably, each established form of collective culture puts forward specific models for the good life and offers long-term values and ideals that are worthy of realization throughout all human life, not merely at some of its stages. For example, eudaimonia (happiness) and aiming at wisdom in ancient Greece, sanctity and aiming at salvation in some religious cultures, heroism in patriotism-oriented political cultures, family life in traditional cultures, cultivation of native language in ethnic cultures, or financial success in consumption-oriented cultures.
A culture or sub-culture that is deprived of such all-life-long ideals is incomplete or immature though, perhaps, inspiring from some other points of view. We can see much of it on the Internet, especially on social media. The technological revolution and the digital culture that it generates, accelerate many cultural transformations in many contemporary societies that, indirectly, have a profound impact on ideals that refer to the meaningful life of its members, especially the young.
Discussing cultures understood collectively does not preclude us from elaborating on culture understood individually, according to the Ciceronian model of cultura animi or cultus animi, which is the individual cultivation of the mind. Originally an agricultural metaphor for the cultivation of the individual soul or mind, it came to be associated in the West with the liberal arts, philosophy, and the humanities.
Our ambition is to develop these two, individual and collective, meanings of the term ‘culture’ so as to get culturally enriched and, on the other hand, contribute to the contemporary debates about the condition of cultures in their plurality and their basic values.
Chris Skowroński, PhD