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A Culture’s Sense of Life—and Lessons for Cultural Change

Tara Smith

Presented at: OCON 2012

Date: Jun 30, 2012

Drawing on Ayn Rand’s unique concept of a sense of life, this lecture examines the character of a culture’s sense of life. What are its major manifestations? How is the social phenomenon different from an individual’s sense of life? What is the difference between a nation’s guiding philosophy and its sense of life, and of what value is it to understand the latter?

Broadly, the lecture considers: what cultural sense of life is and why it matters; the dominant sense of life in the contemporary U.S.; the implications for action, in campaigning for a better world. Time permitting, the lecture also explores how, even apart from efforts at cultural change, knowledge of one’s culture’s sense of life might help a person to best nurture his personal happiness.

intellectual activismculture

Parts: 1

Handout: none