Friday, March 4, 2011

A Basic Error?

A basic error hidden behind all forms and kinds of social and cultural critique may be an almost-never examined assumption, namely that all human beings are uniformly conscious and alert. This sometimes comes in a milder variant, namely the assumption that the wealthy and powerful people are uniformly conscious and alert. Holding this assumption then produces the conclusion that their thoughtless, self-centered, exploitive actions must necessarily arise from conscious and knowing choice of evil over good.

Yet another form of the error may be the assumption that all humans are capable of the same high level of consciousness—if only they knew the facts. This produces the conclusion that reform will naturally happen by informing or “educating” the public.

But these assumptions may all be factually wrong. The basic error may lie in projecting capacities onto the entire human population never uniformly present in any majority no matter what its economic or educational status may be. And if that is true, any kind of improvement begins to look a whole lot more difficult—and critique alone may then be seen as largely useless (if not unprofitable).

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