Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The less things change, the less things stay the same

The way history changes is something people rarely notice. Many
people think external change will bring inner psychological change.
Marx is one example--a certain type of external event was causal, and
everything else 'epiphenomenal.' This simplistic thinking has
characterized much of the last century and remains the default view of
most people, though their views are not typically coherent.
All this ignores the really unimaginable complexity of humanity.
Human nature itself changes so slowly that even after millenia you
could fairly say human nature is static. These views in themselves
are not exclusively those of Jan Cox; rare academics such as Eric
Voegelin, have filled many volumes documenting such ideas.
The latter used the phrase 'metastatic faith' to denote the mind set
of people who think human nature can change overnight.

Voegelin could not glimpse the complexity of change communicated by
Jan Cox. It is against this background that Jan Cox pointed out those
events that encompass what we call "the fall of the Berlin Wall,'
(though he would never speak in such stuffy academese) were
unprecedented in history. For those in power to just drop the reins,
and say, 'I don't want to do this anymore,' --this is not the way
power is transferred, this is not the way empires end.

And here, a mere 20 some years later---another astounding event. No,
human nature has not changed, the scaffolding of history remains a
mechanical set which will break those who think that "out there' is an
arena of real change.

And yet, how wonderful to witness what is going on -- a black man
holds the highest office in the most powerful nation on the planet. A
sweet wonderment.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

this is a test---why have my comments not been appearing.

Margaret said...

Really I was unaware there were comments to be posted, is all. I do not see any others, that I might have missed.