Diminished expectations

I am not in a position or mood, and won’t be for a bit, to make original comment on the election of the new US President.

So here instead, in these days of diminishing expectations of what America might offer, is intelligent American cultural conservative & pessimist, Christopher Lasch near the end of his seminal 1979, not entirely coincidentally titled, The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in An Age of Diminishing Expectations:

The best defenses against the terrors of existence are the homely comforts of love, work and family life which connects us to world which is independent of our wishes yet responsible to our needs, It is through love and work, as Freud noted in a characteristically pungent remark, that we exchange crippling emotional conflict for ordinary unhappiness.

In some ways that not much further on than Voltaire’s closing wisdom in Candide “Il fault cultiver notre jardin”, though Lash’s closure is rooted in the psychological ills that 20th century capitalism has wrought rather than the barbarism born of 18th century philosophical and religious ‘purity’ (maybe that’s only just begun again in earnest).

But for a few days – before we get started on building the institutions of associations and trust that Lasch has no confidence in, but which actually are our last Habermasian hope for the renewal of the enlightenment – Lash’s advice will do.


Author: paulinlancs

Councillor for the Socialist Republic of Bickerstaffe. Interested in making things happen, except when there's cricket on. Sadly, there's never cricket on.

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