Friday, August 21, 2009

Turing and humanity

Oddly I chose for morning work trip reading Andrew Hodges’ description of the chemical castration of Alan Turing. Once the bile had receded I was once again struck how beautiful and how serious Hodges’ writing is. It is not as odd a pair as one might think: so often, it seems to me, ethics and esthetics do cohere. In good writing it is most obvious. And the text, the seriousness of it, did get me thinking about the sordid, the brutal affair (or perhaps actually my private reaction to it),  in a larger context. I suppose we should always also beware these so selfevident dualities: the cruelty and the innocence, the aggression and the openness. We none of us are completely innocent, and our monstrous society only reflects (and encourages in turn) the monsters inside us all. This is obvious, of course: there is a danger in righteous rage, of whitewashing and denial. But to accept totally is surely the greater crime than to rage partially hypocritically. The society is the arena where we can most easily progress and through that progress start an inner healing process. That can be the only realistic way forward for us.

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