This Charming Man



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A List Of Things That Make Life Worth Living

(By RockStroke)



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Throughout history, mythologies of justice and of the ideal state have tended towards one of two directions. Either they postulate the inherent fallibility of man, the permanence of a measure of injustice and absurdity in human affairs, the necessary imperfection of all mechanisms of power, and the consequent perils of attempting to establish a mortal utopia. Or they will affirm that man is perfectible, that reason and will can conquer the inequities of the social order, that the civitas Dei must be built now and upon earth, and that transcendental justifications of the ways of God to men are cunning myths intended to stifle the revolutionary instincts of the oppressed. Among adherents to the first alternative are those political thinkers and rulers whom we qualify as empiricists or liberals, all who distrust final solutions and who believe that imperfection is inseparable from historical reality; among them we count those who are inclined to believe that any ideal governance imposed upon the many by the passionate intelligence and outraged humanitarianism of the few will degenerate, by some fatal law of entropy, into hideous misrule. Opposed to this attitude of scepticism and resignation are the partisans of The Republic, the chiliasts, the visionaries of the Fifth Monarchy, the Comtians—all the enemies of the open and imperfect society. These men are haunted by the stupidities and evils prevalent in human affairs. They are prepared, at the price of apocalyptic warfare and fanatic self-denial, to uproot the old citadels of corruption and to wade, if need be, through “seas of blood” (the constant image of the medieval Taborites) to the new “city of the sun.”





George Steiner

Throughout history, mythologies of justice and of the ideal state have tended towards one of two directions. Either they postulate the inherent fallibility of man, the permanence of a measure of injustice and absurdity in human affairs, the necessary imperfection of all mechanisms of power, and the consequent perils of attempting to establish a mortal utopia. Or they will affirm that man is perfectible, that reason and will can conquer the inequities of the social order, that the civitas Dei must be built now and upon earth, and that transcendental justifications of the ways of God to men are cunning myths intended to stifle the revolutionary instincts of the oppressed. Among adherents to the first alternative are those political thinkers and rulers whom we qualify as empiricists or liberals, all who distrust final solutions and who believe that imperfection is inseparable from historical reality; among them we count those who are inclined to believe that any ideal governance imposed upon the many by the passionate intelligence and outraged humanitarianism of the few will degenerate, by some fatal law of entropy, into hideous misrule. Opposed to this attitude of scepticism and resignation are the partisans of The Republic, the chiliasts, the visionaries of the Fifth Monarchy, the Comtians—all the enemies of the open and imperfect society. These men are haunted by the stupidities and evils prevalent in human affairs. They are prepared, at the price of apocalyptic warfare and fanatic self-denial, to uproot the old citadels of corruption and to wade, if need be, through “seas of blood” (the constant image of the medieval Taborites) to the new “city of the sun.”

George Steiner


05:04 pm, by thischarmingman19812 notes

Notes
  1. thischarmingman1981 posted this