The following is a direct quote placed here for reference purposes only. The original can be viewed here:
Sensate (Materialistic) Culture
The first pattern, which Sorokin called Sensate culture, has these features:
- The defining cultural principle is that true reality is sensory – only the material world is real. There is no other reality or source of values.
- This becomes the ubiquitous organizing principle of society. It permeates every aspect of culture and defines the basic mentality. People are unable to think in any other terms.
- Sensate culture pursues science and technology, but dedicates little creative thought to spirituality or religion.
- Dominant values are wealth, health, bodily comfort, sensual pleasures, power and fame.
- Ethics, politics, and economics are utilitarian and hedonistic. All ethical and legal precepts are considered mere man-made conventions, relative and changeable.
- Art and entertainment emphasize sensory stimulation. In the decadent stages of Sensate culture there is a frenzied emphasis on the new and the shocking (literally, sensationalism).
- Religious institutions are mere relics of previous epochs, stripped of their original substance, and tending to fundamentalism and exaggerated fideism (the view that faith is not compatible with reason).
I cannot find a more fitting description of our current culture in the west.