Tuesday, November 22, 2011

TEDxDAR 2011: Then and Now

The first sub-theme of TEDxDAR 2011 is the tension between the past and the present. This is a subject that just keeps giving in my opinion, and a salient discussion in present-day TZ. By far my favorite question there is: how does modernity differ from development and where do they intersect? I don't think we do enough critical reflection on the distinction between modernity and development, so it will be interesting to see what emerges on Saturday.

My take is that while I can understand anyone who gets exasperated by our habit of glorifying the past- and we can really lay it on thick- we still have to dredge it up to inform our current perspectives and decisions. We also need the past to tell us who we are now and how we got here in the first place. Without that reflection, we simply can't make informed decisions. I see this affecting everything from the production and reproduction of culture to governance and how we understand our leaders' responsibilities towards us. Without that reflection, it does become difficult to distinguish between grand ideas like modernity and development. It is hard to figure out what we mean by them, or why we desire them in the first place...

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