Culture as cult and as trance
The humanities and their transformations can be described by pointing to the metaphors used in them. The article is devoted to an analysis of two metaphors, characteristic of the Polish reflection on culture today. The first metaphor refers to Cicero’s well-known definition and the Latin etymology of the word colere. The metaphor culture as cult links culture to cultivation and care, but also to cult in the religious sense. Provided the Enlightenment-derived, normative model of development and progress is rejected, the culture as cult metaphor indicates the specific character of studying culture from the perspective of cultural studies as a lifestyle or way of living in accordance with values. In this perspective, cultivation, veneration, respect and care are examples of the process of experiencing values, the process which in its nature is dynamic and transformative. The second metaphor, culture as trance, emphasises the fluidity and openness of culture, the need to go beyond the boundaries set by the existing patterns of learning and studying culture and also by the nomadic nature of cultural studies. Pointing out the transgressive nature of culture and human beings, the culture as trance metaphor is also close to the perception of trance in religious studies, which links it to shamanism and ecstasy. Reflections on culture could benefit greatly from an analysis of religious contexts of both metaphors used in it.