"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Aug 27, 2010

Questions About A Category of Belief

If human persons, especially in their groups, had any ability to fashion a utopia, would they not have done so already? Why do people always delay their perfections, postponing them beyond the present, or beyond time itself? Why do they presume, often on a magical premise, that just around the corner, some new technology, technique or technician will possess the secret key which unlocks a hitherto hidden set of human skills and attitudes which will, upon discovery, transform the nature of the beast itself?

Does this belief in uniformity of human nature, of an accessible goodness at the heart of human cruelty, trap its believers in fixed feedback loops, ones which blind them to the contingencies which bind human conduct?

Does this indicate a subliminal understanding of the limits of community, which many refuse to admit, so much in fact that they project perfection into the supposed soul of men, or into their economies of thought, so that once released it can bring about a new man, a metanoia?

Or, does it reveal a comprehension of the error which resides in the belief in any sort of perfection, unity, harmony or enduring justice, but which they refuse to state for fear of the consequences?

Doesn't perfection fix events in a crystalline form, preventing any further change by locking into imaginary place all the relations which the dreamer of perfection holds as just and true and right?

I don't know. Do you?

6 comments:

AlanSmithee said...

If human persons, especially in their groups, had any ability to fashion a utopia, would they not have done so already?

How do you know they haven't? Any number of utopias may have come and gone, wiped out by natural forces, malevolent humans, whatever.

If, by utopia, you mean a functioning intentional community and not, well, heaven.

Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Smithee busts out the serious remarks! WTF?!

bueno!

Jack:

Does this indicate a subliminal understanding of the limits of community, which many refuse to admit, so much in fact that they project perfection into the supposed soul of men, or into their economies of thought, so that once released it can bring about a new man, a metanoia?

Fulcrum of the above paragraph:

,which many refuse to admit,

And it's that refusal of admission, or admission followed by denial of the ramifications, that prods them onward toward their imagined perfect society. But as you suggest, the idea of perfection itself can be flawed. The phrase "perfect society" is to me a self-contradicting term.

Perfection would require everyone agreeing on everything, which is difficult in twos, harder in threes, and seems to peak at the NFL on-field team size. Beyond that groupthink rarely is a reflection of common motive, and tends toward a Pied Piper scenario. The trick becomes, "how do we gull the majority to get them to do what we want, but is in their worst interest? And the answer is, lie to them. Tell them what's not in their interest actually is so. Or convince them that their interest is equal to yours...

...what's good for General Motors is good for America!

Right?

Charles F. Oxtrot said...

PS:

Jack, might even be able to argue that the primary blog entry here is a good thematic summary of Christopher Lasch's book criticizing "progress" and "progressives" -- The True and Only Heaven.

Smithee gets double points if that's the "heaven" he was referencing.

fwoan said...

I think anyone who misguides themselves into believing in the achievement of perfection or utopias is doing themselves a disservice. We can entertain and dream of these things, in fact I think we should, but only in order to attempt the closest preservable version of them. I think you have to have a destination in mind in order to go anywhere - even if reaching that destination is unattainable. You may just find yourself arriving at a suitable compromise.

davidly said...

There's no such thing as a utopia without a catch.

Jack Crow said...

Fantastic replies. Much food for a'thinking.

(Sorry checked back late - away with kin, away from tech.)

Set me to thinking, and for that thanks.

Respect,

Jack