Habit and custom have historically been the mundane filling of peopleU+027s lives in "a pattern of lifeways received among mutually recognized family groups, … a relatively autonomous complex of interdependent, cumulative traditions."1 The addition of a normative set of values—religion, ideology, or ethics—and a few symbols or icons completes the common notion of culture. A legitimate form of inclusive knowledge held in a communal mind, culture "denotes a historically transmitted pattern of meanings expressed in symbolic forms,… "by" which men communicate, perpetuate, and develop their knowledge about and attitudes towards life."2 A primary component of AristotleU+027s good life, a communal sense of meaning is the nucleus of every culture and the foundation of the beliefs and values with which its members justify their ways of living.3 Although closely and asymmetrically linked, the terms culture and civilization are not synonymous. Civilization is the general category, which both embraces institutions and relates cultures, and culture is the particular. A legacy of history, a context of civilization, and a pattern of values focus an array of forces into meanings, identities, and self-consciousness for both societies and individuals: their culture.
Premodern cultures found meaning and values beyond human society in cosmic or spiritual metanarratives that superseded the state and the economy as normative foundations for civilizations. The post-Renaissance rise of secular metanarratives—capitalism, liberalism, democracy, socialism—supplanted the universalist values of religion with additional political, economic, and cultural identities. Whereas the Enlightenment sought meaning in universal rationality, the lens of modernity resolved a trinity of individual meanings in utilitarian rationality, a national identity embedded in the sovereign nation-state, and the admixture of industry, technology, and capitalism.4 Despite the efforts of André Malraux to unify the power of culture with the power of the state in the search for some glorious antidestiny, globalization has threatened each of these fundamental pillars of modern culture and meaning.5