Monday, December 7, 2009

Trading Meaning for Explanation

Indifference and skepticism are two potent forces in the modern mentality. We have elevated them to the status of values. They are part of the way we have learned to inure ourselves from shock--what Benjamin calls "the price for which the sensation of the modern age may be had: the disintegration of the aura in the experience of shock." They furnish us with a certain shabby level of comfort. Franz Kafka wrote: "there is an infinite amount of hope--but not for us." To be an "indifferent skeptic" is to have reached the end of a certain evolutionary line--for a passionate skeptic, or even an indifferent believer, there might still be hope. For an indifferent skeptic, all that remains is the piling up of fact and statistic, to be sorted into categories of explanation.

-Pinchbeck, 2001, p134

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