Friday, September 03, 2010

Thought for the day

The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. His heart sank as he thought of the enormous power arrayed against him, the ease with which any Party intellectual would overthrow him in debate, the subtle arguments which he would not be able to understand, much less answer. And yet he was in the right! They were wrong and he was right. The obvious, the silly and the true had got to be defended. Truisms are true, hold on to that! The solid world exists, its laws do not change. Stones are hard, water is wet, objects unsupported fall towards the earth's centre. With the feeling that he was speaking to O'Brien, and also that he was setting forth an important axiom, he wrote

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

What puzzles me most about the Humanities in general and "my discipline" in particular is that, for decades now, they have been pawning off an Orwellian nightmare as liberation.

How ever did that come about?

4 comments:

headbang8 said...

The mediated world, with which the humanites concern themselves, defines reality for most of us.

The humanities establishment have utterly failed to reveal how insidious that is. Humanities scholars want in on the action--they, too, publish works which seek to define truth. And end up committing the same sins as other (more vulgar) mediators of reality, like govenments and media.

But hey, it's all post modern and Yada Yada Yada and blah blah blah, so it doesn't really matter, does it?

Anonymous said...

@ The Wife

"...they have been pawning off an Orwellian nightmare as liberation."

Could you be more specific?

The Wife said...

@headbang8: Oddly enough, avowed postmodernists are quick to abandon their beliefs/"theories" when THEIR money and professional territory is concerned. One would have thought that in a world of deconstruction such issues have become irrelevant.

On a good day, I just consider this a contradiction. On a bad day (i.e. most days), I find it plain hypocrisy.

@anonymous (whoever you may be): Do I really need to specify? The denial the existence of verifiable truths and a non-arbitrary relationship between representation and reality. Next stop: Minitrue.

I have met postmodernists who question the fact that the earth is round ("I would like to THINK that it is round ...") and consider clitoridectomy a respectable cultural practice.

Anonymous said...

"I have met postmodernists who question the fact that the earth is round ("I would like to THINK that it is round ...") and consider clitoridectomy a respectable cultural practice."

That's nonsense, of course. It's dangerous nonsense, too. No wonder humanities funding keeps getting cut. And clitoridectomy is not a respectable practice in any culture.

Don't let these people distract you from your work.