As I've been thinking about symbolism and the question of whether we have a unifying democratic culture in America – and does it matter? – numerous writers living and passed have inspired me. Here are the few I elected to use in helping to frame my research proposal to the Democracy Fund:
How does a culture reveal its concept of the purpose of life?
Jane Jacobs, The Dark Ages Ahead
The culture code is the unconscious meaning we apply to any given thing via the culture in which we are raised.
Clotaire Rapaille, The Culture Code
Society has obviously reached that stage where formal concepts of social living are in such direct opposition to what the people so obviously feel that it is ripe for drastic social transformation.
C.L.R. James, American Civilization
Every culture that has lost myth has lost its natural healthy creativity. Only a horizon ringed about with myths can unify a culture.
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy
We must invest in our ambition, in our aspiration, in that American spirit of ingenuity and sense of imagination that has always propelled this great nation forward. This is no time for a poverty of imagination in our country.
Darren Walker, Ford Foundation