Thursday, December 25, 2003

I couldn't help myself.
In answer to a question:
I am an atheist. I have few formal -as opposed to informal- social ties and obligations. My parents in modernist fashion 'escaped' their pasts and family histories, replacing them with education and a sophisticated awareness of a wider world. One was an academic, the other ABD with hobbies (you can guess which of them that was.) It's safe to say that all of us were/are 'alienated' from our surroundings, myself less so, though sometimes I wonder. My parents were readers, and one of them still is a reader, of literature, which is not the same, is indeed often the opposite, of being its maker. The argument was often made in my parents' house that one should be 'in the world' and not 'of it' which again is a trait more of readers than of writers. Both were politically active from the 1950's on.
If my life has taught me anything it is to be wary of that 5% of the population that sees itself as being able to describe, and from that assumption to design and redesign the structures that define the existence of the other 95%. I am not talking about politicians, who are part and parcel of the world, but about intellectuals, a percentage, who aren't.

I live with that 95 percent. Any third rate writer of detective fiction does. So did Shakespeare and Montaigne. Living in that world, and thinking perhaps that its collective history is of more value than the works of those who are proud not to, does not make me a believer in mythologies.
I think Marx would agree.

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