Two layers of a culture: Images and obsessive fears

Each national culture is characterised by images of ways of living and working together that one either aspires to or rejects. These images involve visions of authority, freedom, dignity and duty. Significant efforts are made to draw everyday reality closer to positive images and further away from negative images.
These images, and the affects that are associated with them, are related to the existence, within each society, of a central obsessive fear, associated with the perils that it is essential to ward off (contacts with an individual considered to be impure in India, the fact of not being in control of one’s destiny in the USA, the chaos caused by the outburst of emotions in Bali, the fact of being reduced to one’s own powerlessness in Mexico, etc.). The meaning taken on by events and situations is marked by the attention given to everything that resonates with these obsessive fears. The desire to escape from the most feared peril is a fundamental driver for action. It conditions both the acceptance of routines and the way in which innovations are received. This is the case for both the daily action of each individual and for the construction of institutions.


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