steven pinker

Books We Haven’t Read (But Always Wanted To) | Clarissa’s Blog

I’m reading more and more from this herald of cultural decline book of the early 200s, THE BLANK SLATE.    He states that the humanities were mistaken in trying to get people to see that the world was “a weird and dangerous place”.  The reason he gives is that the humanities  types didn’t know enough science to understand the need to avoid masochism.  Instead they held, via Freud, that the perceiver is irrational and also (through what Pinker claims to be a misappropriation of physcis) that their perceptive faculties influence what is being perceived (i.e they embraced cognitive relativism).

More likely weirdness and danger are the taulogical constructs of the conservative mind’s own perceptive apparatus — that is to say, its short-circuit and dead-end.

I really think Pinker’s book has to be closely read and scrutinised to better understand the horrors that some of us lived through during the past couple of decades.  No doubt Pinker’s writing encapsulates a lot of the logic of antihumanities and justification for instinctive animalism that took hold of many — but he also pushed that project forward.

I also think that Bataille’s philosophical matrix, far more than Nietzsche’s, furnishes the perfect answer to this form of radical right wing antagonism.   Bataille, in effect, says, if you fully KNOW the limits of your own being, you will not buy into this sort of stuff — it will have no enticement for you.   Furthermore, Bataille’s capacity to see from both high and low perspectives, rather than jsut in animal terms, enables one to see how small a picture one embraces when one attaches oneself to this form of evolutionary psychology.

But it is still, in a way, our cultural hegemony.   Most people have been pulled into it to some degree.

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…. which all leads to a very enticing impasse. To be alone with the weirdness and danger must be a privilege reserved for the few….the ones who have a capacity to do that and enjoy it without being all weirded out and left unable to cope. I call those highly profound few “intelllectual shamans”.

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