Monday, October 29, 2007

Liberal positions

Surely the sum of our enlightened experience is that the only reasonable hope for us is in historical progress leading to a transformation, the nature of which we can hardly even begin to imagine. As we now are we will never escape: imprisoned by the cruel spectacles of history and nature and our own panicky animal instincts. A state all the more hateful because not all hateful: so many acts of human kindness, of integrity, of love, flicker in the darkness, brightly, briefly, perpetually surrounded by the eternal freezing cold that is our human stupidity, ignorance and fear. That instinct towards the better, those acts of love and integrity, we must set free thus fundamentally changing ourselves into something else and leaving (hopefully) all history and nature behind. This is the fundamental liberal position, surely. A refusal of both the narrowly shrewd, self-perpetuating conservative wallowing in the wretchedness that is humankind and the blind radical insistence that this wretchedness is not integral to us and easy and simple to abolish. This is what our serious human inquiry has established, and on this bleak position any hopes for future must be based.

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