[lit-ideas] Re: Awakening from the Nightmare of History

  • From: "Andy Amago" <aamago@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 6 Aug 2005 09:17:00 -0400

> [Original Message]
> From: Eric Yost <eyost1132@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Date: 8/6/2005 1:59:27 AM
> Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Awakening from the Nightmare of History
> Rather than see us a bumbling and flawed humans doing the best we 
> can to make things work out well, 

Eric, if humanity is doing the best it can, then let's end the discussion
here.  Do you really think we flawed humans are doing the best we can?  To
me that is a depressing thought.

the "fantasy" judgment descends 
> from some abstract Empyrean of perfect rationality that pretends to 
> take in all nations to form its judgment. Except this point of 
> view--where nations are fantasies--is itself the most fantastic, 
> unexamined, and question-begging of hypotheses.

K's point is the nightmare of history.  He doesn't say, I don't think, that
nations are fantasies.  He says that a nation's goal is the fantasy of
immortality.  I don't think people sit around thinking about collective
immortality, but I do think that people of different nations feel
themselves superior to other nations.  Immortality, as I said, is a
shorthand, a symbol, if you will, for that elusive something that keeps
humanity tearing each other's throats out every chance they get.  The cover
story of last week's Newsweek is on 13 years olds.  Boring subject, but
cyber bullies are predominately young girls.  They can't hit each other
physically, so they terrorize on the internet.  Certainly there's a reason
for it, there's some need that wasn't met, something that went wrong
somewhere along the line.  

> There ARE national fantasies--the Caliphate, the Aryan Race, the 
> worker's paradise, etc., but nations aren't fantasies. They exist 
> precisely because they aren't fantasies. They exist because they 
> work well enough to deserve adherence and improvement.
> Regimes that exist on fantasies (Hitler's or Heliogabulus the Roman 
> Emperor who thought he was a Sun god) either destroy the nation or 
> are overthrown by the nation--much as our bodies either succumb to 
> disease or expel it.

The USSR self destructed in just this way.  I got from K's paper that he is
talking about a more garden variety collective need expressed through war.

Andy Amago

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