Getting back to ideals

Tim Black reviews Susan Neiman’s book, Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-up Idealists:

Neiman writes: ‘We want to determine the world, not merely be determined by it; we want to stand above the things we may want to consume. You can call this the urge for transcendence, so long as you don’t call it mystical. We are born as we die, a part of nature, but we feel most alive when we go beyond it. And we go beyond it often – every time we explore the world instead of simply taking it in.’ She concludes: ‘To be human is to refuse to accept the given as given.’

Sounds like a good read.

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Getting back to ideals

  1. Rob

    Yes, I thought of (late) Heidegger, too, but also of (late) Wittgenstein, and the great challenge they saw in recovering the pathos of “accepting the given as given”, if not also of Zarathustra’s quasi-mystical moment of transcendence “At Midday” (in Book IV), wherein he ecstatically contemplates his wondrous soul being drunk back into “the serene and ghastly mid-day abyss” of the heavens.

    Like

    Reply
  2. Rob

    At the level of public discourse and political policy, the cry can’t be beat, I think, but at an underlying, existential level it feels, to me at least, wanting in depth. But that, it seems, is our dilemma: the values (consumeristic, individualistic, and whatever else communitarians like MacIntyre complain about) which support, and are in turn promoted by, our best chances of material prosperity seem to be at odds with other needs for meaningfulness which are susceptible to finding satisfaction in fascistic, anti-individualistic, anti-liberal eschatelogical, deep-meaning-conferring schemes. Britney Spears or the Führer.

    Like

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s