OPINION

Ephemeral values

The present era is the best and, at the same time, the worst in history. It is the most exciting but also the most destructive. Moreover, it is definitely the most fluid. It is an age which, driven by rapid technological progress, tends to transform humanity into what some have called «post-humanity,» without collective vision, memory or traditions. In threatening to change the human condition, it is unmaking the basics on which age-old values have always rested. Trends are now shaped by ephemeral indices and instant information, and the word «value» almost always refers to a price. Prices, however, have the characteristic of going up and down during exchange. The word «knowledge» has come to represent the «constant renewal of the social armory» and to a mobile set of values which change during the lifelong education that people undergo. The concept of the ephemeral therefore emerges more as the need for an elastic life context, which does not exclude the arbitrary. What that entails is single-use ideologies; fragmented and vague world views; a superficial interpretation of reality primarily based on image. In other words, we no longer need that independent public and earthly realm, which lies outside the domain of consumption, and in which ideas have always been shaped. We are a commercial society where civic life is primarily focused on the acquisition of material and immaterial «goods»…