Monday, 24 July 2017

The Today and Every Day Programme

Despairing of history, I began to think of the strange situation in which nearly all of us find ourselves - mere persons of good faith and good will, involved from birth in an inexplicable politico-historical drama. Not one of us, by means of what he can observe in the sphere of his own experience, can put together and reconstruct the law of the political universe in which he finds himself. Even those who are best educated and best situated must think, as they recall what they know and compare it with what they see, that their knowledge only obscures the immediate political problem, which consists after all in determining the relations of one man with the mass of men he does not know. Anyone who is honest with himself and dislikes speculating on subjects that are not rationally related to his own experience, can hardly open his newspaper without plunging into a disorderly metaphysical world. What he reads, what he hears, curiously transcends what he observes or might observe. The sum of his impressions would be: No politics without myths.

Paul Valéry, "Foreword" 1931, from "The Outlook for Intelligence" 1989 p11.

Does not know and would regret having made the acquaintance of if forced into propinquity with on, for instance, a harrowing and interminable train journey or at, let us say...

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