Two, however, the piece that really caught my eye, was The Persistence of the Lolita Syndrome, prompted by the recent BBC / Savile / Hall scenarios. Suspend suspicion in the intellectual foggie-froggieness – froggiephilia is Andy’s thing – and it’s a recommended read of what Andy has to say.
Rousseau was the distant godfather of contemporary arguments that imply that education is, in effect, irrelevant, since the selfish gene (or “nature”) is paramount and sociobiology rules. But the point that emerges from Beauvoir’s analysis in “The Lolita Syndrome” is that liberation and “authenticity” are indistinguishable from coercion because they turn the very notion of “freedom” into a categorical imperative. As Rousseau argues in “The Social Contract,” the citizen (young/old, male/female) has to be “forced to be free.” As so often, freedom coincides with what I want you to do for me.
… there is a certainly an ironic convergence between believers and atheists. Savile for one, mother-fixated and explicitly convinced of his own sinfulness, nevertheless expected to get himself off the hook with a final, posthumous appeal to the “Boss.” And in a strange mirror image, secularists are perfectly capable of dissolving any notion of responsibility in an invocation of ancient, even pre-human patterns of behavior. For Savile, there is predestination; for others, there is the overarching excuse of genetic fatalism.
the style of thinking that made a real difference
maintains that thinking makes no real difference
Fits my agenda in one very specific way and topical in view of recent exposure of Pinker’s take on linguistic development. Objectification that makes all decisions no-brainers, logical truisms, destroys real thinking, and what we really need is real thinking. Thinking matters (*) and is culturally evolved – genes and teachers (and parents) are a part of that, but only ever a part.
And this statement – in the light of recent European Court of Human Rights input to UK legal decisions:
“liberation and “authenticity” are indistinguishable from coercion because they
turn the very notion of “freedom” into a categorical imperative
As soon as we codify (objectify) freedoms (human rights), they are lost.
[(*) Thinking – as in the way we believe and understand things, that underlie our actual decisions to act, not our “theories of action” – after Argyris.]