Crossposted at DKOS after a long delay. Some really good comments over there!
Gradually, we have stopped really looking at the horror. Not that it is all horror. Life itself is sweet. It is that sudden gust of summer wind that carries honeysuckle and a mixture of green-tinted scents. This is life, so full and opulent. This great Goddess that nurtures us without stint, without regret, without reproach. She accepts us just as we are and always will no matter what we do. She will cry in a dark corner but blame no one. Crying and hurt is part of the nature of fecundity.
But what of us? Actually we don’t give a shit. Not really. We are able to live in a very artificial world very far away from our Great Mother who cools her heels beneath the window of our daydreams. Daydreams and fantasies dominate our world-we want fantasies to be real. It seems that we want to shape the world and other people to fit our fantasies.
Something is profoundly wrong with the way we live today. For thirty years we have made a virtue out of the pursuit of material self-interest: indeed, this very pursuit now constitutes whatever remains of our sense of collective purpose. We know what things cost but have no idea what they are worth. We no longer ask of a judicial ruling or a legislative act: Is it good? Is it fair? Is it just? Is it right? Will it help bring about a better society or a better world? Those used to be the political questions, even if they invited no easy answers. We must learn once again to pose them.
Tony Judt wrote the above in the first paragraphs of an article he wrote in the New York Review of Books. In a way he is stating the obvious but it is hard to understand what has happened during the period Judt describes unless you’ve lived through it. It seems like wondering what a good society might look like is almost forbidden. The general view is no other way of living is possible.