De-Limitations of Culture


Culture, one can say, is the process of projecting, creating, and setting limitations. It begins with such acts as much as it lives and sustains itself through them. Culture not only sets its outward, external limits serving as a demarcation between itself and an outward sphere – a realm not belonging to it, a dark zone of what was excluded; but it is itself permeated by a whole series of internal limitations. What is at stake is in-forming an original chaos of disorganized, fragmented, inconceivable, and raw “reality.” That is, turning it into identifiable, coherent, ontologically grounded and secured world in which we can dwell. To set cultural limitations means, then, to project particular symbolic, imaginative, social, political, religious, economic, hygienic, medical, and so forth, orders. And at the same time to exclude everything falling short of the standards provided by such orders. This act creates intelligible frameworks within which all culturally mediated human experiences, from the most private and intimate through the public and common to the most sublime ones (e.g., experience of freedom), can become meaningful. This act gives them contours, actuality, and facticity. It does not mean (or it is not to be limited to) a simple acceptance of these limitations. Rather it simply indicates that all our experiences involve encountering limitations of different kinds. And as such they [experiences] are essentially nothing else than taking a stance, position, attitude – being it active or passive, positive or negative – toward them. In other words, limits, boundaries, borders, and along with them also margins, are all-pervasive, constitutive elements of culture and of our understanding of ourselves and of reality.

How to cite:

Bursztyka, Przemysław. “De-Limitations of Culture.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 6, no. 1 (2022):  1-6. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2022.0001.


Przemysław Bursztyka
Faculty of Philosophy, University of Warsaw
Krakowskie Przedmieście 3, 00-927 Warsaw, Poland

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