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Showing posts from December, 2016

Truth, Enlightenment, and ... animality

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It's fashionable to say we are post-truth, but falsity and unreason have always lived alongside fact and inquiry -- and not just as their opposites. 
As folks like Nietzsche and Freud have shown, the capacity for truth and reason is often built out of processes of violence, rejection, and resentment. Anyone who has been to school understands this tension. So must anyone who has reckoned with the history of America, beacon both of slavery and of freedom, of both equality and of racism, that most arbitrary and ugly form of inequality.
We are, after all, not minds, but animals. Human animals operate largely outside of processes reason or even self-interest. These are late-arriving achievements, hard won and fragile. 
Yes, we can maintain ourselves in a space of reason; we are capable of operating purely economically, but anyone who has interacted with another human animal intimately knows that all of us also need spaces of irreason and even violence, where we can express our fear, o…