Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Practical and theoretical things to consider

The combination of theory and practice is of crucial value when organisation Seminars dedicated to advancing the knowledge about cultures. When organising the Fifth Seminar, there were some practical and theoretical things to consider.

a. time to do things

These details are perhaps difficult to recall when concerned with Europe overall, even though Picht's lecture focused upon the mutations individuals have to go through as part of the adaptation process to ongoing changes in Europe. One of these changes may be to experience the transformation from having no time at all and hence being forced to do certain things always under time pressure or 'pressing needs' to having too much time available, that is able to do completely what one wants to do simply because there is no longer any direct pressure to do things immediately, even to earn money for survival purposes. The latter case of having too much time at hand, however, may turn out to be equally negative. Not only can it experiences of life into empty ones due to wasting simply time, but also a sort of not knowing what to do means really a loss of purposeful relationships to other human beings. Times available and times used to do something meaningful, the two together suggest a rather difficult balance. As if a confirmation of this notion participants in the workshop 'culture and identity' discussed not only the theme of 'time', but it turned out to be a main concern of all when differentiating between 'empty' and 'rich' times in terms of living experiences.

b. cultural heritage: historic space and sense of time

There should be added some more observations on how life in Bruges appears to an outsider. May it be the many scenic situations of ancient buildings, park landscapes, inner court yards and water ways nearby or churches build like a miracle only out of red bricks, there is everywhere in Bruges evidence of 'historic space' as the architect Tafuri would say in his book 'Space and Labyrinth'. Nowadays, the culture of consumption has made, of course, people crowd through these ancient streets on their way to some fine restaurant. The life style of Bruges in comparison to other European cities appears, therefore, to be more than modest. This goes to show, that the Europe towards the end of the twentieth century has not really found itself at ease after the terrible two World Wars.

As a historical reminder of the past, Bruges had been spared by the allies and the German forces from any kind of destruction. Frank Moulaert who grew up in this city explained that there was a mutual agreement not to destroy this historical evidence. Retrospectively speaking, the preservation policy may be in terms of 'cultural heritage' a sort of illusionary suggestion of continuity. This includes a now frequently visited site by tourists and experts of the past: a secret path used then by the nobility to get to the church unnoticed, that is a small path leading over a lovely bridge arching itself to let the water pass underneath. Buildings near that bridge reflect in their windows the play of light on the water below. Now and then again tourist boats pass by with someone explaining the history of the site, but that underlines what business it has become to bring people into contact with an authentic past. It is called by urban and regional planners the 'heritage industry'. Bruges is an architectural feat in that sense. Yet in the light of such negative examples as Heidelberg, Florence and other tourist cities in which tourism has emptied daily life and led to gross distortions of cultural life, itself reduced to mere stereotypical images and really another kind of ugliness, this enforced mass consumption of the past has unsettled all forms of survival. The MacDonalds descend upon those cities whose value could have been expressed otherwise if they had not lost their real economic base or strength to maintain their own cultural identity.

c. cultural identity

Cultural identity - is it 'self understanding' through culture?

The kind of historical reminiscence possible in Bruges can be compared to the bird about to dip upon the water. As lightly as the feet touch not only water, but more precisely the depth underneath the surface, as sure it is that this bird will catch a fish. Nevertheless, there is also the recollection of 'bridge over troubled waters': the sentimental sadness of the '68 movement. It is always claimed that this kind of 'cultural revolution' is in need of some correction. Yet that song by Simon and Garfunkel has become as much as Bruges a feature of the cultural self-understanding of many Europeans. Whether now this is part of a larger synthesis starting with Homer and Socrates and not ending with Montaigne and Tocqueville, literary criticism and poetic expressions turned into political philosophy was always a reflection of the times while seeking to establish values in distance to the concept of 'law'. That is why also in the United States Washington as much as the writer Emerson looked upon their traditional past, in order to know what values to seek and to establish as a kind of literary tradition. The German philosopher called it 'experimenti mundi': man's effort to be able to articulate him- or herself freely. Since 1945 we are dealing really with a blend of American and European cultural features. The cultural premise of Europe became after 1945 some kind of anti-fascistic, pro-democratic value orientation governing all institutional set-ups. It includes as value premise the Western orientation, by which civilisation and culture merge into one as one of the most difficult assumptions to assess when it comes to consumption and the popular understanding of what life is about once identified with Western values, system thereof. Or is that a mere assumption that people believe in it and strive towards 'survival' in that system? For not all democratic efforts had been successful while not many wish really to talk about 'cultural failures', including that of the elderly generation when it came to comprehend what the student movement of 1968 was really about: an acknowledgement of the distances still to be covered prior to reaching any kind of understanding of cultural value to be shared with the other. No wonder that the deadlock was often described as a monolog or a kind of negative silence which ruled over the relationship between the self and society. The misunderstanding of Descartes in this regard has played especially havoc in many philosophical interpretations having gone thereafter completely astray and yet the gap between German and French philosophy remains almost unbridgeable. That has led in turn to a misunderstanding of the concept 'economy': governing by as few rules as possible, in order to avoid over bureaucratization...

d. language and mythology

Again, there is the need to repeat an important aspect related to learning through languages to understand the nuances in life styles. One may call them cultural differences, even mythologies, hence difficult to describe or to define. Any attempt to do so only destroys them, would say Cassirer in his brilliant essay 'myth and religion' in his book: the crisis of man. Why Tafuri, for instance, does not like Cassirer's interpretations, that evades any critical understanding of how society has been organised ever since Odysseus returned home by sacrificing to the Gods while really depriving them of their real power. As Adorno and Horkheimer point out in 'Dialectic of Enlightenment', through Odysseus' cunningness the mythical forces were driven back to the places they came from: the dark corners of some cave. They no longer could dominate over the entire sea, as shown by the failure of the earth shaker Poseidon to prevent Odysseus return to Ithaca. The secularization process had already set at that time and altered the defining powers of what are culture and the arts, work and values.

The relationship between myth and reality is, however, far from clear. For most of the modern references to mythology leave out one main element, namely that they existed in the past in order to support life, that is, to overcome fear, including the fear of isolation. If one is to understand the deeper roots of European networks, then it is there where one has to look, in order to perceive how differently reality is dealt with when once again close to mythical explanations. Then it becomes all of a sudden important to speak about things like the 'memory of the land' (Poly Kasda) or about a powerful image in a poem by Ritsos when he describes how killed soldiers lying underneath the ground nevertheless hold on to the rope of the church bell, ready to ring it when the hour has come. Every living past, present and future entails such awaiting moments: a continuity of sayings and interpretations, wishes and forms of forgetting, out of which stories are spun and which children like to identify with or else reject. That is also culture: the passing on of subtle values even through fairy stories like Cinderella or else tragic loves like 'Romeo and Juliet' which Shakespeare brought skilfully into a theatrical form. All in all, these mythical elements contain only in their binding purposes with life a real chance to become a model for behaviour or more clearly said for 'actions' undertaken due to very conscious values. In Greek, 'ethnos' means always the spirit in which something is done; it goes far beyond that what can be seen and yet relates to the real world of things, mankind and fisher boots included while the hardship is inscribed silently in the stone which speak once language is no longer muted by leaving out these 'to be experienced' places of language and equally 'myths' of mankind.

e. values premises: pragmatic and the absolute level - between challenges and offences

'Robin Hood' is a figure which could exist only in England, but not in Greece, so the thesis of the present Polish ambassador in Athens, Mr. Ryszard Zoltaniecki. He would stress, that it is one thing to be pragmatic in one's doings and quite another thing if one dares to challenge the moral authority of one's country. In Greece, he would continue to argue, there is never possible to challenge something at a pragmatic level without being misunderstood as trying to question the overall authority. An even more extreme example is set by the Islamic death-sentence of S. Rushdie, a writer who dared to reflect the Koran in terms of being Satanic verses. The overreaction underlines the lack of differentiation between moral values, laws and sense of 'freedom' of the individual in terms of expression. That becomes even more important when it includes 'artistic freedom' which has to be considered as something apart from the freedom to express one's opinion (Martin Jay). The lack of tolerance and freedom may or may not be the consequence of a failed secularisation, that is, the effort to separate religious from political truths and to let the world be ruled by pragmatic principles. In speaking about failure in this context means always to refer to the need to have some basic consensus about 'values' (Michel Foucault). However, the moment considerations of defining powers not wishing to be questioned themselves in their 'absoluteness' are included in what can and what cannot be challenged even by a work of art, then the limits of the world become as apparent as the concept of 'law' remains unclear. The result is that many view survival merely as something linked with power that is with how games are played according to defined and pre-set rules which are established long before children pick them up and develop them further. Piaget made this observation when talking about moral concepts as developed by children even while playing marbles at a street corner, i.e. one wrong throw and you loose a turn or a marble. Breaking the law was reprimanded with some form of punishment as if human beings need to be taught 'laws' by learning to face consequences if they did not confirm and instead decided to do other things than what was generally accepted to be the 'rule'. The rule changed according to the basic value orientation of society; a hunting society differed from an agricultural one. At all times, certain skills are considered to be valuable for the overall survival needs of society, while others are looked upon as challenges or even worse as damaging to that particular society.

e. anthropological dimension

The anthropological dimension has always been linked to questions of 'economy' as a particular and peculiar relationship to other people (Polanyi). Whether the 'exchange principle' or the rule for working 'just in time' after periods of 'division of labour' (A. Schmidt), all these classical and other logics of organization had and have a determining impact upon society and the means of survival. That is nothing new except for the bent in laws and the almost non-bridgeable distance between man's own capacity to understand his 'self' and the world in which he or she has to live in. From Frazer over Freud to Levy-Strauss and others the anthropological dimension entails, however, this value of understanding man. Out of it developed a thematic line of thought such as 'man and his world' or 'man and nature'. All of them are attempts to gauge the unknown: man's relationship to him- or her, others and the world. Almost like a tripate, the focus stands like an old camera obscura between pillars of Cap Sounion in order to capture feeling moments of a sun set while still some people mingle between the pillars. The classical distance between them was always that realization of 'nothingness' when the light behind dove into the sea. Since Ancient Greece, the anthropological dimension has become almost exclusively a concern of the media 'film' with its preoccupation of classical themes like outlaws trespassing the law and getting eventually to feel society's revenge on that as if the Western world is not anything different from the Islamic one and its emphasis upon revenge as the highest possible law of all for it restores balance. The Christian version 'eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth' is but of the same kind of law seeking to establish comparable equivalences when there is really none in the world of individuals. Thus, poetically said, doubt became a fleeting shadow of the self not grasped by any concept accepted within the language of society. However, perception then as well as today was and may still be so governed by a relationship between the so-called inner and outer world, even though some prolific writers tend to question that such as Peter Handke. Yet already in Ancient Greece this matter of perceiving the world became a preoccupation with the contrast between the two kinds of worlds, the inner one and the outer one. While it was clear that 'psyche' as a concept applied to the former, it was not so certain what would govern man's relationship to the outer world? There is 'mater' but also the 'nomos' of things; the Ancient Greeks retained such a tension because they noticed something around which they built their temples. A careful look can confirm that since the very construction of these temples - looking out to the sea while inside there are paintings - helps to create the illusion of moving pictures. If one goes, for instance, to the Greek temple Aphaia on Aegina, there is a moment between columns to be grasped as being simultaneously a look outside as much as inside. With the pictures above and inside, the viewer is forced to move, in order to see them since the columns create natural frames for the pictures above and behind them. By moving between frames, the viewer recreates the movement he sees outside, in nature, the world of being. This brings the anthropological dimension closer to the sense for illusions. It relates writing to the perception of the world, including depth / height in terms of time: today - tomorrow - a field day away or a moon shot closer. The viewer remains at all times passive and even risks obscuring the reasons of existence, but everything else seems to move except the rotating earth in the universe of indefinite distances. That seems to be of extreme importance.

g. contemporary problems

First of all, contemporary problems have to do with habits and the needs for resolvement, if the system continues to function. That includes as much communication as isolation; violence and unemployment are but two ugly outcomes of the same dirty trick, namely to misuse cultural forms for purposes of soliciting energy for efforts in the end really not worthwhile pursuing, but in which mankind gets lured into time after time. Most of these are war activities and deal with the need of bourgeoisie society to expand, in order to have the experience of an increase in wealth as its only purposeful order and direction of activities (Hegel). Naturally that is linked intimately with many unfulfilled dreams. As a negative form, or rather as a potentially explosive source of dissatisfaction, it confronts the consumption society only negatively or with a twist of irony: 'I can't get no satisfaction' was a popular song during the '68 years, but the emphasis already then was on 'I can't get no....', as if everyone had to finger themselves through reality, in order to make up their minds. There was hunger, but also a need for love and in-between there was the assumption that a job was not as important as a life-long learning experience. This has become since then an institutional strategy of almost all societies. No wonder that they call themselves 'learning societies'. It reformulates the 'not knowing' on how to survive or else get a job into a positive unknown on which one can work on. To learn to survive has become thus a method of learning without a stop; the 'infinite story' of Michael Ende has become transformed into a continual learning process by which the need to enforce 'cultural adaptation processes' becomes really the law and the only thing left in the assumption about the future of society, i.e. 'Information society'. Something or rather much is left out in that concept.

People seem steadily to forget while cleaning their own houses that they transport dirt or rubbish only somewhere else. Like energy, it does not get lost, but rather takes up space elsewhere. There is a need to overcome certain 'irrationalities' when relating man's environment to nature and to the kind of negative atmosphere being created daily by not walking or running, but driving everywhere with the car. For aside from pollution, it destroys the cultural landscape, i.e. untouched nature to be experienced by man as such. That too has altered the experience of space, while distances overcome by speed and transport possibilities cut off from their surroundings (i.e. rapid train, Concorde etc.) as prerequisites for communication have changed society dramatically. But again Horkheimer and Adorno point out in 'Dialectic of Enlightenment', that this kind of modern communication system leads to nowhere but isolation. It includes stereotypical reproductions of the same living style according to the models one can afford, may they be type of car, built-in kitchen or bedroom decoration. All conversations remain within those modes of life being reproduced daily at massive scale. Individualization is but an ideological force producing uniformity amongst the people in line with categories of consumptive activities.

Critically reflected, the consumption society does not fulfil dreams; rather it empties them of their human elements and makes dissatisfaction into a force to be reckoned, but not easily dealt with. This force does not work for change, but prolongs the agony of human behaviour becoming unreasonable, if not satisfied immediately. There is no greater illusion and contradiction than that. While it takes years for a child to grow up, the highly suggestive elements of consumption society are of such nature, that everything has to be available here, at once, without any further delay. From investments in the future no one seems to speak, even though that would be the real dimension of understanding culture at work. The latter is like a painting that is finished only after five years, or a poem needing months to mature, while friendships with children can last a whole life when love on the other hand can be easily squandered due to some unfortunate misunderstanding and therefore dilemma to face when making up one's mind between the relationship or the future of one's career. Usually the relationship is sacrificed for the sake of the latter. That too adds to the uncertainty and insecurity of present societies lacking binding forces and thus human relationships which outlast moments of crisis, i.e. loss of job and hence income.

i. signs of life: how to read and write in the modern media landscape?

To come back to the main philosophical interpretation, there prevails this dilemma in not really knowing what is necessary or useful and what is just play, that is useless time, but also a sign of life? Interpretation is here not 'explanation', but the risk one takes in trying to unlock reality through a specific form of understanding. It is something that the German philosopher Adorno stresses constantly: a child crying can only be relieved of the pain when understood directly within that form of pain. It is done by 'Deutung' - a meaningful interpretation of what goes on inside of the child. This requires seeing beyond the given of the senses. Freud made this point when saying everyone accepts someone as being wounded if he has a hurt leg, bleeding at that, yet no one wants to see the 'neurosis' somehow has after experiences of bombs exploding around him but not causing any direct damage to his body. Seeing the 'invisible', or that what is going on in the person's psyche, soul and emotions included, is only possible by means of language, experience and 'perception'. The latter has to be reflected philosophically if wrong projections are to be avoided. It must include the 'unknown' while elevating the person so to a human level through a historical understanding. As Janusz Korczak, the famous children's' doctor of Warsaw said, when a child cries we do not know if due to the feeling that child has for humanity having been persecuted over three hundred years or more. Human values and humanity retrospectively means that the capacity to feel is greater than the limits imposed upon the self-finding process determining modern individuation.

In the modern media along with the learning and communication technologies of the so-called 'Information Society' these are not exactly the priorities set out to be accomplished. Alone the usage of the term 'Information Highway' suggests already that this new 'Information Society' will be but a derivative of the one already known, that is the one at a loss in its network of communication linkages, including autobahns, telephone and television forms tending to reduce human activity to be but a mere outcome of entertainment. Adorno and Horkheimer call this the 'manipulative society'. One consequence of this deadly development based on the one-sided emphasis of technology is that 'signs of life' are becoming more difficult to read. It starts already with the lonely teenager roaring with his juiced up motorbike through the silence of a village, in order to drown his fear of that silence in simply noise. It is no communication at all, but a symbolic gesture leading to further misunderstandings. Usually society thought only some of the teenagers get entangled in that contradiction between protesting too loudly and yet offended by the remarks of mostly the older generation. Little did society change its aptitude towards life and became finally in its conformity pattern a victim of that contradiction. In the end, things appear more dead than alive, or as Hoelderlin said it in his famous poem 'Bread and Wine', the moment the market place has closed all signs of life in the street are gone. It is as if life exists only when there is money around, i.e. to be earned and spend. Everything else is either subservient to that or does not exist.

j. the market - a square/place/ public consciousness (Habermas) or where only things and clothes are traded as if culture can be reduced to be a mere commodity of exchange!

There are other anti-analogical thoughts when thinking of history in human terms. Especially when crossing public squares either in Rom or else in the restored old town of Warsaw, there is this sensation that within a certain space survival meant and means something different from what one has learned and grown accustomed to. For indeed market places are not only there for an exchange of commodities, but equally they serve the purpose of exchanging ideas. The original Greek meaning of market was the Angora: the place where laws were announced and discussed. A measure of time became in such a context a truly philosophical notion of what to do, what not. There are many other measures, including man himself, but this philosophical concept has been lost since Ancient Greece ruined itself in the war between Athens and Sparta.

However, that ancient notion of the market is quite different from contemporary interpretations of 'market', for in the modern age it is not laws that are being discussed, but prices mentioned and paid according to the income available. It was Brecht who suggested that truth can be found only there, where the market starts. Yet he failed to answer the problematic relationship between citizens in the making and those who want to understand whether or not this is the most feasible life style. For if all things are governed by the market, then all measures derived from there overrule any possible other measures, such as 'signs of life', including a true smile of a child. Before this is misunderstood as some romantic or even sentimental notion, reflection should be made of the thesis by Habermas as to the structural changes inherent in public spaces. What used to be accessible to the public, i.e. banking decisions about money procedures was open to public eyes in the Renaissance prior to moving behind closed-doors, has withdrawn and joined the 'invisible' world. Today, the language derived from technology allows even people to refer to 'invisible infrastructures' and finally to the 'invisible city' (Calvino), as if the existence of things depends upon something else, something not seen, but felt. Usually people give a lot of their time and efforts, money and other resources to make this 'invisible world' become real in their need to touch and to taste that something. It is the process of exploitation and singleness that takes place here for no true public space for debates is being created, but gimmicks like the Walt Disney world outside of Paris are created to make this fancy dreams be sound business ventures. As someone would say, only when one manages to tap in on everyone's dreams, then business will be a success, the usage of the name 'Mars' for a chocolate bar but one outstanding example of a far fetched dream of travelling to Mars can become in an instant a dream come true by eating chocolate: a wish translated into a seeming reality capable of satisfying not so much a basic need, but more so a wish. A society without public space and need for open debates becomes manipulative exactly at the point where wishes begin to express themselves independently of what is going on.

k. economic systems and the complexity of decision making processes

The decision to produce chocolate bars, even though not essential, is reason enough to ask, but how does society or anyone decide to produce that product and not something else. After all economy means economizing resources available so that human needs are satisfied within liveable forms; that is not the case in the 'consumption society' in transition to the 'information society' for much seems merely an end in itself, i.e. consumption for the sake of consumption, so that lateral thoughts are caught up or entangled in a web of tautologies. Individuals become like flies trapped in the spider's web, a metaphorical description of capitalistic society and its manipulation of dreams and wishes by creating in the fields of entertainment, and sport has become that as well, heroes who live already what the others can only dream off at the moment. As said above, something desired but momentarily out of reach (due to lack of resources) makes people move in a certain direction. Decisions or rather investments are made accordingly. The danger becomes when everything is done for the sake of money, of making more money, in order to consume money, the highest point of reflection of consumption society being 'Rodeo Drive'. What that will be in terms of the 'Information Society' remains to be seen but already signs indicate illusionary creations such as a 'Palazzo Intelligente' which networks not only people, but apparently everything with everything else, including artists with business people. The purpose is to facilitate the making of money, not to bring about good art. The latter requires quite another decision making process while recognizing what is taking place in society.

Prof. Baeck mentions in his paper on Mediterranean thoughts, that the economists and anthropologists M. Polanyi gave a most precise reflection of what it means to contain commodity exchanges within the mode 'money for product'. Polanyi felt that the real issue was how to carry complex decision issues throughout society and still let everyone participate. If that is the case of interest, then it is natural that everyone must be able to play an active role also in shaping the distribution, so that society will be just. Polanyi meant always reciprocity as opposed to mere exchange to be the true basis for that. In turn, this would mean reversing the ideological argument of the exchange market: man is not made by the market, but he exists already prior to the exchange laws of the market. This, in turn, explains why a consumption society based on the exchange principle of a market not controlled publically evades the issue of a just distribution. Value premises related to money are not of the same order as human values.

l. social norms and forms of existence

However, to return to the general discussion, it is important to remind oneself about the simple notion that people appear to do things only within recognised forms of existence or, more simply put, what society allows. However, it is not such a norm-oriented society, which creates so many problems, but rather the fact that the entire European setting remains absurd, given Yugoslavia and other situations of violence. That means culture cannot be translated so easily into an active realisation of 'human aspirations', in order to ensure that life goes on. There are these realities to be faced as a continual plight of 'human failures' when faced with violence such as war in the final end. It is here where silence starts: that of the graveyards, but also of those knowing no more any answers.

m. knowing the - your - past: rivers of silence

One main issue of the Bruges seminar was the relationship between the past and the present. This seems important especially if it becomes an essential element of strategic survival. The poet Neruda survived because he could keep silent and thus he was handed from family to family, while the police was searching for him. His poetry formed a river of meaningful words out of such a silence. Thus, interactions between artists and people are often governed at the emotional level by such sentiments which cherish these moments when something authentic has found an expression, that is the possibility to exist, even though the reality around may bespeak quite a different language. That is why consciousness relates to the fact, that it is important to being aware that the yardstick used to measure the present is not always perfect. Alone, in that single conclusion rests an understanding of what culture is about: an ongoing process of change. Once consciously reflected, there is a tendency to attribute the changes to certain things or factors not usually recognized, but this again may reproduce traditional forms of perception while ignoring what is going on. Literature is filled with examples to struggle itself free from such a regression to tradition, to looking at the past as being the better place to be. Yet there is only one place to exist: the present as an ongoing change in life.

Sartre, in his book about Flaubert, stated that the writer despite of his social background was open enough, in order to let reality enter his novels, forms of descriptions, and hence was not blind to what took place outside of bourgeoisie society. In that critical sense, culture becomes a means of different and differentiated perceptions of social reality, therefore, a kind of 'correction', in order to safeguard people from the kinds of mistakes committed if they no longer speak to one another, but look upon the other as an enemy or even worse as a 'disturbance' to their longing for peace and quiet. Life is always challenging, never quiet and certainly never satisfied with finalised decisions, even though there appears over and again a need for clarity by means of clear-cut definitions even about the word 'culture'. That is not possible, if culture is really the sum of living experiences people make daily while learning to resolve their problems themselves. The degree of autonomy gained in such a process is called 'freedom'.


All this is to say, that as in movies depicting typical scenes, the analogy of life becomes like the running of children over the square to chase pigeons. It is a side comment to the main theme in the movie. It provides atmosphere, as critics would say, but anthropologically speaking, ever since Pasolini introduced the notions of laughter, eating, or streets of death into the language on the screen, these synchronic viewpoints suggest an evasive time element not to be confused with romantic notions about being somewhere specific at a certain time. For there is still the need to overcome confinements: an old and familiar problem of Europeans living in tiny, narrow streets with neighbours shouting at each other or dumping simply garbage out of their windows as the case in Naples or elsewhere where there exists hardly any respect for the 'environment', the place in which oneself as much as the others have to live in and share the same water, air and kinds of food made available by this earth. This real cut-out is astronomical distances away from 'Le Monde' as portrayed by daily newspapers. It seems as mankind is no longer reflecting upon the kind of movements it creates, but merely drifts asunder or apart while efforts to conjoin in some higher level of concept or aspiration turn out to be much uglier than the world sought to be left behind.

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