Thursday, May 04, 2017

"Irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas"


This warning from Lionel Trilling (written in 1950) is even more relevant today:

When we say that a movement is 'bankrupt of ideas' we are likely to suppose that it is at the end of its powers. But this is not so, and it is dangerous for us to suppose that it is so, as the experience of of Europe in the last quarter-century suggests, for in the modern situation it is just when a movement despairs of having ideas that it turns to force, which it masks in ideology.
Although i guess it should be updated. Maybe something like this:

When a movement despairs of having ideas that it turns to force, which it masks in ideology and #hashtags
Walker Percy:

Ideological words have a way of wearing thin and then, having lost their meanings, being used like switchblades against the enemy of the moment.



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