Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Banality
Consider a discipline such as aesthetics. The fact that there are works of art is given for aesthetics. It seeks to find out under what conditions this fact exists, but it does not raise the question whether or not the realm of art is perhaps a realm of diabolical grandeur, a realm of this world, and therefore, in its core, hostile to God and, in its innermost and aristocratic spirit, hostile to the brotherhood of man. Hence, aesthetics does not ask whether there should be works of art.
The fact that more women, and men, want to fuck George Clooney than fuck George Bush "is given for aesthetics". As to the significance of "diabolical grandeur" and "hostile to God", I'd have to talk to a shrink, but there's your Protestant Ethic right there.

Memory jogged, things fall into place.  Quiggin, again and again (click through the continuation for the source)
The claims about Art criticised in Art, an Enemy of The People, are very similar to those made by most religions, namely that there is a special category of people (prophets or artists) and a special category of activities (Religion or Art) which yield transcendent insights into the human condition, and which should be accorded special privileges over other people and other ways of finding meaning and enjoyment in life.
I never imagined Weber was so stupid, but then again he'd have to be, to have his 'science' work at all.
Finally, let us consider the disciplines close to me: sociology, history, economics, political science, and those types of cultural philosophy that make it their task' to interpret these sciences. It is said, and I agree, that politics is out of place in the lecture-room....
To take a practical political stand is one thing, and to analyze political structures and party positions is another.
The can be no science of communication because no science of experience can replace experience itself. No science of bias will remove the fact of bias. "It is said, and I agree, that politics is out of place in the lecture-room." Politics is implicit on the lecture room and everywhere else; it's either implicit, or explicit. Weber's bourgeois mannerisms are the superstructure, the esthetic, of his sensibility. But since we respond to manners, superstructure, and esthetics -for animals, more often than not the proof is in the presentation- there's no way out. "Ideas" are just another aspect of superstructure. It's a shame that in the era of bureaucratic reason, even psychology became bureaucratized. etc. etc.

Mediocrity at its worst; Corey Robin quotes Tocqueville
"Let me say, then, that when I came to search carefully into the depths of my own heart, I discovered, with some surprise, a certain sense of relief, a sort of gladness mingled with all the griefs and fears to which the Revolution had given rise. I suffered from this terrible event for my country, but clearly not for myself; on the contrary, I seemed to breathe more freely than before the catastrophe. I had always felt myself stifled in the atmosphere of the parliamentary world which had just been destroyed: I had had found it full of disappointments, both where others and where I myself was concerned."
Liberals are torn because their first imperative, freedom, is inseparable from their second, self-interest. The banality of parliamentary politics is the banality of people pursuing their own private interests through public means. The best answer to monarchist ideals of nobility is a democratic ideal of nobility, but that's not something liberals can get their heads around. It's far easier to blame others, anyone but themselves. Easier than reading Hannah Arendt and actually learning from her.

Another answer to the banality of political life "at court", or any bureaucracy, would be to retire to the monastery, or the library, or the woods. "Is that a scroll he carries? He must by now be immensely Wise, and have given up earthly attachments, and all that." But following the bureaucratic imperative, the modernist imperative of specificity -specialization- your title is your truth, and retirement means death. And Tocqueville's view of aristocracy is the memory and myth-making of of the high bourgeois. He's a creature of the 19th century, not the 18th.

No comments: