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Culture Doesn’t Keep

Submitted by on December 3, 2009 – 4:22 amOne Comment

Some cultures come with an expiration date.  Sometimes intentional, more often not, these movements are never meant to last.  One of the starkest examples is the formation and demise of cults.  It usually starts with a charismatic leader who makes grand promises (often a stupendous event to come).  Truth is far too pliable in these groups, and the end comes when the fantastic promise is not fulfilled, or worse, when suicides end the movement.

The Rave Culture of the 90’s is another example of a come-and-go society.  It involved surprise dance parties that would spring up in abandoned places, trance and electronic music was played, and almost anything that glowed was cool.  But one of the most important elements of the movement was “raving” while on Ecstasy.  A person close to me got into the movement and tried to convince me that the drug was both great and safe.  A string of overdosing deaths deflated the air from that party balloon pretty fast.

However, not all temporary tribes are fatal.  Most of them rise and fall without as much as a blink because they exist in the everyday realm of business.  So how does one identify the “best if used by” cultures?  What does a longer lasting movement look like?  How can one take advantage of or avoid temporary tribes?

The answers are not always easy to come by on this one.  However, some simple methods of observation below may be of some use:

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One Comment »

  • Joe says:

    First, that picture is of the Sham Wow product, right? I bought into that. Hahaha.

    This is an interesting post – raising good questions about the emergence and disappearance of different cultures, products, and companies. I especially liked your take on how to adjust to and with them. Those short lived things will not stop popping up, so “how can one take advantage of or avoid temporary tribes?”

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