We Civilize and Institutionalize the Life Out of Life

Living in Germany has been a challenge for me. Germany is a small country that has over eighty million people. There is a “valuing of space” that does not exist in the same way in Canada. Germans have had to manage their space in a different way considering their population and size and historical closeness to other countries. Most everything is maintained and ordered and is in its place. For me nature walks in Germany seem to be over done in the amount of maintenance and landscaping, especially considering my experience in the untouched wilderness of Canada. In Canada, I would regularly, often enter into the nearby natural forest world as a way of finding refuge from the over done human world of development,progress and advancement.
This is very much the German way, more so than in Canada. They have managed to become an economic success in their way of doing things. Partly influenced by their Calvinistic roots, the people here put great emphasis on practical and efficient ways and on managing the perception and development of self. There is great emphasis and meaning in what one is and what one has become and it is evident in how one presents.

I see Canada becoming increasingly cultivated as well although with the vastness of it all, it will take some time for it to reach some areas. It is mans way to institutionalize and control and manage most everything. Some might say that this is the way of civilization and or evolution, but no, this is not so. This is the way of man; to perceive in  a way that we breakdown, separate and divide; but thinking in this way comes at a cost. It is very often conducted in a mechanical and technical way often at the hands of exclusive individuals and groups. We leave it to the experts. An example of the institutionalizing of life is the institutionalization of academic subjects. It has put them out of the reach of lay people and in the hands of the academic experts and subject to, a so-called intellectual and institutional process, that turned it into something devoid of heart. Some subjects such as science may have been more amendable to this process but it can be debated that even science has become over mechanicalized and structured. Another example is institutionalization of philosophy which made it into a discipline that could only be seriously pursued in an academic setting. This fact represents one of the enduring failures of contemporary philosophy.

We create structure, institutions, ways of living, Gods and other things out of our perceptions and our projections, however complete or not our understanding is. This is what we do to life in our efforts to bring security and comfort to it. Part of that security and comfort comes in  our belief in what we know. But perhaps it is more of what we don’t know or have somehow forgotten that is affecting what we are becoming rather than what we think we know.

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