Cultural Mining


Cultural mining describes the process by which the most valuable parts of culture by which we understand the arts, humanities and philosophy are recovered and made useful for our own times. In cultural mining the pratical sides of culture are carefully extracted, cleaned, blasted and remolded and then used to manufacture the mental tools that we need to navigate contemporary life. It’s been a historic problem that hugely valuable cultural insights have often been lodged within highly unappealing material far below ground. It’s been dark and cramped in the corridors of culture and hardly anyone other than certain accredited experts have been tempted to visit. The material has been like metal: in all, entirely impractical in its raw state. For culture to be useful to us it needs to go through a process of refinement: you have to separate cultural insight from a lot of surronding material. Like in gold mining, only a very small portion of what had originally been dug out will ever be usable to make the finished precious item that our society needs: good ideas. it’s around this process of refinement that the big difference between the school of life and standard universities becomes apparent. We’re very grateful to these universities for digging the mine shards and keeping open the tunnels, but we have a different project. We’re interested in the extraction and utilisation of the material on the surface rather than its preservation and interpretation below ground. The idea of cultural mining is new and still feels a little weird, but it has a critical role to play in our world, because at present lots of people don’t, sadly, believe that culture has anything much to offer them. This isn’t heir fault of course: when you look at the raw material form in which culture is generally laid out before us no wonder most people don’t bother, but that’s a huge pity. We’ve started doing the mining deep in the cultural ground to help us meet the multiple confusions and anxieties of our own times.

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