Monday, September 15, 2008

Talkin' 'bout my generation

"Early impressions tend to coalesce into a natural view of the world. All later experiences then tend to receive their meaning from this original set, whether they appear as that set's verification and fulfilment or as its negation and antithesis. Experiences are not accumulated in the course of a lifetime through a process of summation or agglomeration, but are 'dialectically' articulated in the way described … [E]ven if the rest of one's life consisted in one long process of negation and destruction of the natural world view acquired in youth, the determing influence of these early impressions would still be predominant. For even in negation our orientation is fundamentally centered upon what is being negated, and we are thus still unwittingly determined by it …

"Another fact, closely related to the phenomenon just described, is that any two generations following one another always fight different opponents, both within and without. While the older people may still be combating something in themselves or in the external world in such fashion that all their feelings and efforts and even their concepts and categories of thought are determined by that adversary, for the younger people this adversary may be simply nonexistent: their primary orientation is an entirely different one."

— Karl Mannheim, "The Problem of Generations"