chapter  1
32 Pages

The Chain of Memory: On the Relations Between Moral Culture, the Individual, and the Past

WithSteven P. Feldman

This chapter focuses on how moral values are established and maintained in the individual. In the twentieth century, modern culture evolved to the point where the individual’s private sense of well-being has split off from his/her sense of social responsibility. The culture of control did not have such an altruistic face. Culture provides compensatory pleasures for its insistence that the individual must restrain his/her actions. Cultures are systems of hierarchically established values. A culture without repressions could not exist because everything thought or felt would be done instantly. At Telephone Company, the culture of control demanded strict deference to superiors. Culture functions as both the achievement of unconscious repression and, indirectly, conscious expression through the process of substitution; that is, culture splits human impulses, repressing one part while allowing another part to enter into consciousness through attachment to publicly accepted symbols or cultural forms.