Loss, for this project, means sacrifice, or the wasteful expenditure of something to honor a set of values. The values need not be understood by those who sacrificed. For example, Americans memorialize the Pilgrims' deaths as sacrifices made on behalf of the nation, but they could not have understood their deaths as such -- the nation didn't exist for another hundred-and-fifty years.
The key to turning loss into sacrifice is to piece together an identity (personal and collective) out of a historical pattern of losses. Take for example the history of "Punk Rock." "Punk," as a term used to describe the culture around a type of rock music, had no currency until 1975. But immediately after the word "punk" gained currency, people identified themselves and their culture with the term and they started piecing together a history, memorializing certain figures who came before them and ascribing to those figures their own desires, which their predecessors could not have fully known. Thus, some punks memorialized the MC5 and The Stooges, while others memorialized the Velvet Underground, and so on. The new narratives that grew up around punk "created" predessessors who sacrificed for a future they could not have fully understood.
Return to Introduction Page.