As E.H. Carr contended in the past, and it is a contention that is perhaps equally applicable now as it was in the past: “A revolutionary current is in the air.” In turn, revolution itself is an element of a “decolonization” process with both cultural and economic elements, and coincidentally, the process of “decolonization” is one of three major “historical trends” which underlie and underpin our current day and age, in addition to the “demystification” of European culture and the paradox of America as an “enfeebled” imperial power on one hand and an economic giant on the other hand.
Arguably, cultural transformation as part of a revolutionary process which is embedded in a broader historical trend is also part of a deeper and more subtle transformation which is occurring amongst both individuals and groups, namely, a mental and perceptual transformation that occurs as a result of education, information, and art. In turn, the parameters of our perception of reality are set by a weltanschauung which is shaped by a number of factors. Some of these factors which shape the prevailing weltanschauung are pedagogical, propagandistic, philosophical, artistic, intellectual, and religious. But perhaps the most important of all the factors shaping one’s weltanschauung in the Western world is arguably the economic factor. As Freud himself argued, the “strength of Marxism” stems from its “sagacious indication of the decisive influence which the economic circumstances of men have upon their intellectual, ethical, and artistic attitudes.”
Hence, the prevailing weltanschauung of a society is shaped largely through the educational, pedagogical, propagandistic, and political tools and instruments which are wielded and employed by a certain socioeconomic class or socioeconomic group vis-à-vis all others. It is through the weltanschauung of the mind and its molding at the hands of a particular class or group of people which then explains the fact that “there have always been exploiters and exploited, creators of wealth and its selfish consumers” to borrow from Gramsci.
Why one particular class or group of people in the Western world sought to shape the weltanschauung of all others is because “the aristocrat came to regard himself and his whims as necessarily the end and only end of civilization and culture” to borrow from W.E.B. DuBois. Opposed to this teleological outlook of civilization and culture on the part of the Western aristocrat is the belief and the idea that “not merely the upper class but the mass of men were the real people of the world.” The belief which then corresponds with or even underlies this idea of the masses as the real people rather than the aristocracy is due to the fact that there is an inherent and “enduring danger” in a world that is “being run by a selfish few for their own advantage.”
Moreover, there is also “the ideal of plain living and high thinking, in defiance of American noise, waste and display” which the elite and liberal class in Anglo-America reverses and negates through the imposition of their weltanschauung by virtually any means necessary. Rather than “plain living and high thinking” as the ideal, the ideal has long been ‘high living and plain thinking’ due to the profit-motive of just a few people. Only education and pedagogy can instill the belief and the idea that “the object of the world is not profit but service and happiness” to borrow from DuBois. And with the aforementioned historical trends which underlie and underpin our current state of affairs, this belief and idea of plain living, high thinking, happiness, and service may end up taking root in a synchronistic manner amongst a great number of people over the course of time.