Just Merveilleux

Life at № 42

Welcome to the age of anger

The seismic events of 2016 have revealed a world in chaos – and one that old ideas of liberal rationalism can no longer explain

“Writing in the 1860s, during the high noon of 19th-century liberalism, Fyodor Dostoevsky was one of the first modern thinkers to air the suspicion, now troubling us again, that rational thinking does not decisively influence human behaviour. He pitted his Underground Man – the quintessential loser dreaming of revenge against society’s winners – against the idea of rational egoism, or material self-interest, then popular in Russia among eager readers of John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham. Dostoevsky’s protagonist obsessively assaults the shared rationalist assumptions of both capitalists and socialists: that human beings are logically calculating animals, driven by perceived incentives:

Oh, tell me who was it first announced, who was it first proclaimed, that man only does nasty things because he does not know his own interests; and that if he were enlightened, if his eyes were opened to his real normal interests, man would at once cease to do nasty things, would at once become good and noble because, being enlightened and understanding his real advantage, he would see his own advantage in the good and nothing else?”

Full text: Welcome to the age of anger, The Guardian

Outstanding writing in today’s Guardian, very much worth reading. But to end on a more pleasant note, here’s our Christmas card for this year. Consider yourselves greeted.

xmas2016

And here’s Morgan in ecstasy having found a stick that will keep him busy all day.

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22 comments on “Welcome to the age of anger

  1. Ruth
    December 8, 2016

    This is the kind of rhetoric that is fueling much of this anger. This is the gentleman who invited Richard Spencer to speak at Texas A&M this week. No, it isn’t just about race, but there are many who are denying that it is who I know for a fact have these ideas. They have black friends so they aren’t racist.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Helen Devries
    December 8, 2016

    Perhaps time to read Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Clare Flourish
    December 8, 2016

    Ivan could not understand Smerdyakov, so was provoked to violence and despair by him; but Alyosha resisted. And Dmitri went to drink and dance, and entertain friends.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. john zande
    December 8, 2016

    Jeremy Bentham’s best line ever was “Nonsense on stilts.”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Tish Farrell
    December 8, 2016

    In his BBC TV programme analysis of Magna Carta (last year?), historian David Starkey concluded that we are sleepwalking to totalitarianism. This seems to be echoed in the thought-provoking if depressing essay by Pankaj Mishra. I’m glad you added the very nice dogs for some light relief. Dogs know how to live and be happy with a good stick. Humans, it seems, have let their souls ossify.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I love Starkey. I’ll look up the documentary this weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tish Farrell
        December 8, 2016

        Years ago I had the good fortune to spend a day with him. He was doing some consultation work for me at a museum I was working for. Despite the impression given by some of the flak he has received in the press over past years, he is a very humane man. An original mind. And above all a great desire to communicate and enlighten – those who chose to listen of course.

        Liked by 2 people

      • What sort of museum? I work in the art world as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tish Farrell
        December 9, 2016

        The Ironbridge Gorge Museum in Shropshire – “birthplace of the Industrial Revolution” a lot of cast iron and blast furnace stuff – but also art of the 19th century industrial age. Several museums in one in fact: Maw & Co decorative tile works, Coalport China Works, Coalbrookdale Co decorative cast iron, and the Elton Collection of art documenting that period. David Starkey was writing me a paper for an educational project: how to enthuse the minds of old and young with the history of all this production. I’m imaging that your art world is sunnier in all senses 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. kjennings952
    December 8, 2016

    Blah blah blah
    Cute dog pics, wait! Now I’m paying attention!
    You’re a man of paradoxes

    Liked by 1 person

  7. acflory
    December 9, 2016

    “Rousseau saw how people in a society driven by individual self-interest come to live for the satisfaction of their vanity – the desire and need to secure recognition from others, to be esteemed by them as much as one esteems oneself.”

    This is what drives Facebook. It is also, I suspect, what drives most people once the needs of immediate, day to day survival are taken care of. We need to be recognized and admired, whether we have done anything worthy of admiration or not.

    This need is not based on merit but simple human psychology. Unfortunately, neither economists not political thinkers take psychology into account. All the great ‘isms’ of the past failed because they ignored the reality of human psychology.

    We are not rational beings. We are not altruistic beings. We are a messy cocktail of good and bad, and as we’re now finding, the carrot is not enough to keep us on the straight and narrow. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Curious Mother
      December 9, 2016

      At the risk of exposing my inner hippy, there’s great value in not being defined as a rational being or a rational species. We are also mystical, magical and (thanks Dr Freud) polymorphous and perverse 😊

      Like

      • acflory
        December 9, 2016

        Not a hippy but definitely an optimist. 🙂 We also harbour all the qualities we used to ascribe to demons. 😦 LIttle wonder we invented angels and devils.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Echo Chamber vs. Discussion: Hat’s Off To The Pink Agendist, née Mr. Merveilleux | Godless Cranium

  9. davidprosser
    December 9, 2016

    Lovely Christmas card.
    Hugs to you both.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. agrudzinsky
    December 11, 2016

    In the new year, I want to let go of a lot of crap in my life. Anger is one of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. makagutu
    December 11, 2016

    I think our problems began when some men and women told people we are rational beings, all we need to act rightly is knowledge. Instinct and intuition they said belonged to the lower animals. How they were wrong? We act then find reasons to justify. This is the simple reason we have acted against our better judgement

    Liked by 3 people

    • acflory
      December 11, 2016

      Yes. The conscious brain is highly over-rated. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

    • agrudzinsky
      December 12, 2016

      “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them. ” — my favorite quote from Hume. So true.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Little Monster Girl
    December 16, 2016

    I hope you have a great Christmas and New Years! Sweet dogs. My Siggi says hi! He’s a yorkie.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on December 8, 2016 by in activism and tagged , , , , , .
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