05 January 2007

Ideas Have Consequences

I’ve almost finished reading Ideas Have Consequences, and it’s a really fine read. Although it was written in 1948, it is quite applicable to our society today. Some things have to be forgiven simply due to the time that has passed since its publication and now, but the overall tone of the book is spot-on. This paragraph in particular is relevant when considering what is wrong in American society today:

In the final analysis this society is like the spoiled child in its incapacity to think. Anyone can observe in the pampered children of the rich a kind of irresponsibility of the mental process. It occurs simply because they do not have to think to survive. They never have to feel that definition must be clear and deduction correct if they are to escape the sharp penalties of deprivation. Therefore the typical thinking of such people is fragmentary, discursive, and expressive of a sort of contempt for realities. Their conclusions are not “earned” in the sense of being logically valid but are seized in the face of facts. The young scion knows that, if he falls, there is a net below to catch him. Hardness of condition is wanting. Without work to do, especially without work that is related to our dearest aims, the mental sinews atrophy, as do the physical. There is evidence that the masses, spoiled by like conditions, incur a similar flabbiness and in crises will prove unable to think straight enough to save themselves.

- Richard M. Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences

1 comment:

scott lakes said...

You speak of excess & materialism. A big problem even when one sits at home & looks to the silence of intervallic dialogue of the consumer-ish blahs of TV. I find my solace there as wife-e affably enjoys her show/ I tune in some... But cleaving to belief, even in its immediacy is the problem w/ believing in thoughts as ONE's escape from what made belief your supposed rescue: "Imagine!!" Nothing to do. Now starting there we have inner-attention, we can think OR not!! peace...