The World As Culture

Cultivation of the Soul to the Cosmic Whole


D. Paul Schafer

In this thought-provoking book, noted cultural scholar D. Paul Schafer makes the case for what he calls the world as culture --- a world in which culture is the central organizing principle of human civilization.

For the past two and a half centuries, we have lived in a world in which economics and economic principles reign supreme. Although the world of economics is likely humanity's greatest achievement, Schafer argues that economics and its associated modes of thought are incapable of coming to grips with the enormous problems we face today. Humanity must move toward the world as culture, a world in which cultural modes of knowing and doing play a central role.

Schafer considers the various manifestations of culture that have evolved over the centuries, painting a fascinating panorama unique to this book. Those manifestations include culture as cultivation of the soul, which originated with Roman statesman and scholar Marcus Cicero; culture as the arts, the humanities, and the heritage of history; culture in the context of personality development; the anthropological and sociological manifestations of culture; and, most recently, ecological, biological, and cosmological conceptions of culture.

Culture's embrace of holism, its attention to the total pattern of human life, and its incorporation of artistic and humanistic modes of thought make it the ideal organizing principle for a brighter and more sustainable future. The author concludes by considering how the world as culture might be brought into existence in the years ahead.