We Live in a Stadium, but Need a Sanctuary (Pacific Standard)


In an opinion piece published by Pacific Standard, Steve Swayne, the Jacob H. Strauss 1922 Professor of Music and chair of the music department, compares what he calls “stadium culture” and “sanctuary culture,” and the effects of each.

“Both cultures have long been with us, with lectures and libraries and sacred liturgies from christenings to funerals favoring one culture, and with sporting events and marketplaces and secular liturgies from bacchanals to barhopping favoring the other,” he writes.

Though modern life often steers us toward the stadium culture, the more “mindful” sanctuary culture has clear benefits, Swayne says. “… beyond lower blood pressure and better health outcomes, sanctuary culture at its best forces us to see and hear more of the world around us. It helps us to see and hear that world better.”

Read the full opinion piece, published 7/7/14 by Pacific Standard.



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