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The Secrets of Culture

By D. Paul Schafer, Rock's Mills Press, Canada, 2015, 276 pages, ISBN-978-0-988129351

The central premise of the book The Secrets of Culture by D. Paul Schafer is his belief that ''we need to pass out of the present economic age and into the future cultural age'', and that ''in order to do this, it is necessary to unlock and capitalize on all diverse and dynamic secrets of culture''. Through the author's life story, and his professional journey, first as economist and then as author, adviser, educator and researcher in the cultural field, Schafer describes how all these theoretical discoveries and practical experiences affected his life and broadened, deepened and intensified his knowledge and understanding of the complexities of culture. According to Schafer, for centuries humanity was preoccupied with the dominant economic worldview and model of development concerned with the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services, and the creation of material and monetary wealth, while neglecting the importance of the cultural worldview, concerned with people, values, the relationship between human beings and the natural environment, humanity's greatest ideals and accomplishments, etc. Although the economic age produced countless benefits and opportunities like an enormous amount of material and monetary wealth, and improved standards of living and the quality of life, soon many shortcomings of the economic age became visible, like the ''devastating effect on the natural environment; promotion of a highly materialistic way of life and exploitation of the world's scarce resources at an alarming rate; major inequalities in income and wealth; high priority that was placed on products, profits, capital accumulation and the marketplace; the tendency to destroy the sense of community and social bonds'' (Schafer, pp. 204-206). Schafer argues that culture must now become the centrepiece of global development, human affairs, and the world system, because the economic age is no longer capable of carrying humanity forward into the future. For the author, culture is, by definition, holistic and rooted in nature, and it manifests itself in virtually everything that exists in the world, in the natural and human realms. Therefore, culture is the real key to creating a more equitable, sustainable and harmonious world. ''Culture is a dynamic and organic whole that is concerned with the way people visualize and interpret the world, organize themselves, conduct their affairs, elevate and enrich life, and position themselves in the world'' (Schafer, p. 138). Schafer claims that it is important to emphasize that the strengths of the economic age would not disappear in a cultural age, on the contrary, a cultural age would incorporate these strengths into a broader and deeper way of looking at, and dealing with life, living, reality, history, the human condition, and the world system. "The key to coming to grips with the most difficult and demanding problems that exist throughout the world today lies in making culture, cultures, and cultural development in the holistic sense the centrepiece of the world system and principal preoccupation of municipal, regional, national and international development'' (Schafer, p. 249).

To obtain the book, please visit: https://www.rocksmillspress.com/secrets-of-culture2.html