The Age of the World Tourist

The Age of the World Tourist

Tiago Mesquita Carvalho (CoLABOR, Lisboa, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3636-0.ch011


This chapter presents a broad reflection about the connections between cultural landscapes, technology, and tourism. Cultural landscapes are lively and historical entities, neither background scenery nor artworks. They are coupled with several instances of value and remain tied to local forms of life. Tourism, conversely, thrives through promoting and advertising the experience of such landscapes, whose aesthetical and cultural heritage promise to enrich and educate tourists. The relationship between landscapes and tourism is nevertheless prone to criticism. The objectification of cultural landscapes proceeds through setting a series of burden free commodities, corresponding to the variety of ways modern man builds his subjectivity essentially as a tourist. Territories are progressively becoming available to tourists through various technologies while the self-image of tourists is being increasingly established by those same technologies. Tourism can nevertheless withstand different kinds of practices allowing landscapes to speak for themselves and engaging tourists to a commitment.
Chapter Preview

Modernity And The Age Of The World As Image

The present age, according to Heidegger, is grounded in a certain metaphysical interpretation of beings and a certain conception of what truth is, henceforth providing its essential character. The ground of the present age rules over all phenomena that mark this age as such, while the phenomena themselves have to be acknowledged in their metaphysical character in order for any meditation to be advanced.

The meditation here exposed concerns tourism in a broad sense and the phenomena that will be dealt with concern its unfolding through technological availability and landscape availability. Together, they will allow one to scoop through the metaphysical character of the present age.

More specifically, it will be shown how tourism reveals itself as an encompassing global phenomenon that asserts and pushes the consequences of the essence of Modernity to its paradoxical limit. The contemporary character of tourism does not only currently shape cultural landscapes, forms of life and cultural patterns. Tourism alters the very meaning of dwelling as the relational unit that once committed and bonded communities to their natural milieu. In this way, the phenomenon of tourism is both a privileged window from which to access the past and also a fracture through which the present age tends to evolve and grow into its essence.

The historical process of Modernity is not comprehensible without acknowledging its difference to all the other preceding ages. As it is, Modernity is in fact the age that establishes itself as committed to succeed in improving all other past ages. This statement involves both a catalog of how previous ages performed and an historical drive towards the future that grounds itself on novelty, breakthroughs and a rejection of all past hierarchies and religious dogmas through the emancipatory power of reason. Fundamental to the quest of progress is thus the status of science. One can assess the difference between modern science and technology while comparing it to the Greek and medieval conception that lasted until Enlightenment.

For Aristotle, theoria was one of the intellectual virtues that concerns itself with the necessary, immutable objects that are beyond change. For the idle and affluent scholar, theoretical contemplation was understood as the highest good, the ultimate end of action and the exercise of the good life. Phenomena and objects that can otherwise be different belong to the scope of production and action, respectively the fields of the other intellectual virtues of techne and phronesis, which can be named like calculative reason and practical reason. According to Aristotle, action and production don't involve one another, although both work through a rational way. The precise meaning of this statement basically means that virtuous action has its goal in itself, as it is worth doing by itself, while production has its goal in the product and his done accordingly to the suitability of the product to the circumstances.

Phronesis had the task to point man towards the good proper to its nature, but not any good. Desires, affections and feeling should be aligned with what practical reason deemed worthy. It is also the role of practical reason to judge and measure the suitability of circumstances that qualify the right action or the right production. There is no product whatsoever that only by its features warrants its appropriateness in every single occasion. Another major difference is thus that unlike practical reason, calculative reason proceeds by a step by step methodology, being prone to be settled in a rule-based approach in order to reach its end in every circumstance. A boy or a young man can quickly become as good or perhaps even better in geometry and grammar than an old man. A carpenter and a shoemaker know how to make houses and shoes regardless of when, where and how.

Practical reason, on the other hand, is not prone to be reduced to a set of rules or norms that are in every situation applicable. Ethics is not a theory of decision by which the agent enacts a set of the most fitted and previously available rules irrespective of circumstances, but a way of understanding what is the right action accordingly to the hic et nunc of the situation. By understanding why and how he should act and through continuous habit, the agent teleologically strives in virtue towards the telos of flourishing. Ethics is a set of precepts that account on how the agent can realize himself from potency to act accordingly to his own human nature.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: