Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

These are hardly heartwarming conclusions. Moreover, the deep influence of status on our individual choices challenges our very sense of free will. The sociologist Pitirim Sorokin writes, “When we ourselves determine something, we feel ourselves free; and especially when this self-determination flows spontaneously from us as something quite natural to us and emanating from our very nature.” The regularity of mechanisms behind aesthetics, choice, taste, and identity all question where to draw the line between “our very nature” and our position within a particular hierarchy. Annoyed with Thorstein Veblen’s theories, the famed American critic H. L. Mencken wrote, “Do I admire Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony because it is incomprehensible to Congressmen and Methodists—or because I genuinely love music? Do I prefer terrapin à la Maryland to fried liver because plow-hands must put up with the liver—or because the terrapin is intrinsically a more charming dose?” Mencken correctly notes that status value isn’t the only aspect of cultural value, but he’s too confident that he can separate the effects of status from his “pure” contemplation of beauty and pleasure. Over the course of history, humans repeatedly and regularly changed their cultural preferences—almost always in the direction of status. Our desire to adopt the norms of elites can seemingly override biological instinct, economic rationality, and personal psychology. Status concerns nudged the Beatles to trade their proud rock ’n’ roll pompadours for arty moptops and forced William Finnegan to abandon his beloved longboard.

—p.263 Conclusion: Status Equality and Cultural Creativity (261) by W. David Marx 1 month ago