Visiting professor discusses cultural conflict in the world

A visiting emeritus professor spoke on the challenges of conserving cultural traditions in a technology-based world April 21 as part of the Walter Powell Philosophy Lectures.

Professor Chet Bowers, who formerly worked for Portland State University, titled his lecture “Educational Reforms that Address the Ecology of War” even before he knew that Linfield’s PLACE Program had the “Legacies of War” theme.

“The ecology of war is brought about by three main reasons,” Bowers said. “Ecological crisis, computer automation and globalization.”

As the environment suffers from our impact, new technology makes it increasingly more difficult to find employment, and globalization threatens the traditions of other cultures; people are put into more and more conflict.

“Especially here in America, we are at war with others constantly,” Bowers said. “There is a feeling of friends versus enemy.”

To stop this growing feeling of conflict in our society, Bowers said we must focus on the idea of cultural commons, a face-to-face interaction and sharing of information between the generations.

“These are activities like food preparation, oral narratives, games, ceremonies, and art forms that are not performed for a monetary gain,” Bowers said.

Cultural commons vary widely between different cultures of the world, but the preservation of these traditions is important in fostering a community. People who have more relationships with those around them tend to be more physically and mentally healthy, Bowers claimed.

Our highly modernized lives are influenced by the vocabulary of a capitalist culture, and our educators are a part of the system that promotes these words and values in our society.

“Words that are harmful to the cultural commons, such as individualism, markets, progress, change, rational thought and self-determination undermine the relationships that come with fostering a community,” Bowers said. “People need to realize that we are not autonomous beings.”

Bowers believes that educators can begin to make a difference by encouraging students to seek out activities in the community that have little to no monetary involvement and become less dependent on their consumerist society.


Olivia Marovich/Staff writer

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