Tag: the diachronic question

striking out and running

reality bats last
nature bats last
God bats last

these are always wise responses, they are bedrock true.
do they undermine Apocalyptic thinking, by undermining the power we give to our own endeavours, our own ability to destroy the world as much as to save it.
what is the state those three forces bring man back to exactly, or are they merely negative, curbs on hubris. reality will spring back in your face, but will it take you by the hand and lead you home?

connected to the history of ideas, or ‘the diachronic question’, what is causing what in history. is technology primary? ideas and dialectic now seem naive drivers. Alan Jacobs pronouncement, as I’ve linked to before, is a bit of a credo:

All of these grands recits should be set aside, and they should not immediately be replaced with others, but with more particular, less sweeping, and more technologically-oriented stories. The technologies that Marshall McLuhan called “the extensions of Man” are infinitely more important for Man’s story, for good and for ill, than the debates of the schoolmen and interpreters of the Bible. Instead of grand narratives of the emergence of The Modern we need something far more plural: technological histories of modernity

We need a complex, multifaceted, materially-oriented account of how modernity arose and developed, starting with the later Middle Ages. The three big stories, with their overemphasis on theological and philosophical ideas and inattentiveness to economics and technology, have reigned long enough — more than long enough

The principalities and powers then, the back and forward of “spiritual powers in the heavenly realms”. That view is profoundly inspired from Leszek Kolakowski’s ‘Politics and the Devil’, and forced the open question of the link between the devil and technologies—the ontology of the Machine.

But man is also never struck out. I take that to be the thing deBoer keeps driving at, and Kolakowski too:

The only comfort we have comes from the simple fact that we are not passive observers or victims of this contest but participants as well..and therefore our destiny is decided on the field on which we run.[something which probably ends up being a matter of faith?] To say this is trivial, and, as many trivial truths, worth repeating.

That disposition, that history is a live entity, seems to be shared by this book, I’m excited to see if it sheds any new light.

chalking it up to the slogans

Freddie deBoer:

The best book ever written about totalitarianism isn’t actually 1984. It’s A Tale of Two Cities. And in that book, the most commonly repeated image, the central symbol, is of a giant eye. What Charles Dickens understood, and what the book argues, is that there is no such thing as freedom without privacy, that being truly free means being free to do things that you don’t want other people to know about. And what I insist is that all the people who are busily denying that these revelations really mean anything recognize: if we give up these rights, we are choosing to do it. Every aspect of this is a product of human choice. We might be trapped in systems. But those systems are made up of human beings, and they are choosing to erode our basic freedom. Nothing can be chalked up to slogans or “the arc of history” or technology or Just the Way Things Are Going to Be. If our rights are getting eroded, it’s because we’re choosing to let them. Tell that to the defeatists and the apathetic alike.