Wednesday, 23 August 2006

The Denial of True Reflection.

Finally, an article about Gunther Grass that has absolute common sense:
Without ethics man has no future. This is to say mankind without them cannot be itself. Ethics determine choices and actions and suggest difficult priorities. They have nothing to do, however, with judging the actions of others. Such judgments are the prerogative of (often self-proclaimed) moralists. In ethics there is a humility; moralists are usually righteous.

These thoughts come to my mind as I read the macabre denunciations being levelled today against G√ľnter Grass. About him as a man and about his great work as a writer, they totally miss the point, and might be dismissed as laughable, but, as an index of a certain recent moral climate in Europe, they are troubling. They are an example of moral judgments made in a carefully constructed vacuum of experience. They are what is left after the emptying out of lived experience, and they are a strident denial of what we know in our bones to be real.
John Berger hits the nail on the spot about how I feel on the whole issue.

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