O Jordanie Petersonie
Peterson’s view that the “idea of the individual” is the particular achievement of the Western Enlightenment is, to say the least, paradoxical, or contradictory if you are inclined to be more hard-headed. “Your group identity is not your cardinal feature. That’s the great discovery of the west. That’s why the west is right. And I mean that unconditionally. The west is the only place in the world that ever figured out that the individual is sovereign.” There seems to be some confusion about the meaning of the word “unconditionally” here. If the West has indeed figured out that only individuals matter, then presumably it can no longer feel any great pride about this collective achievement, since collective achievements aren’t as important as the lives and accomplishments of individuals. Here, as elsewhere, Peterson wants to somehow keep the Enlightenment intact as a positive value, without realizing its actual stakes or costs. Peterson, in effect, tells his audience, “You can pat yourself on the back as a sovereign individual and a Western man, just like the guy next to you.” His logic recalls the scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, when the main character declares to the adoring crowd outside his window, “You’ve got to think for yourselves! You’re all individuals” and they echo back, as one, “Yes. We are all individuals!” (...)
The strange paradox we face today is that the Enlightenment is being invoked like a talismanic object to thwart the very questioning of political hierarchies and norms that, for Enlightenment thinkers, was necessary for humanity’s emergence from tradition and subordination. But even if the forces of Counter-Enlightenment may have now adapted the language of rationality to their own purposes, authentic Enlightenment thought has never been about building up the bulwark of tradition. As that other British liberal John Stuart Mill wrote, “The despotism of custom is everywhere the standing hindrance to human advancement.” The great figures of the Enlightenment knew that the social and political revolutions of their day were aligned with their thought; there’s a reason that mild-mannered Kant toasted the anniversary of storming of the Bastille every year, earning him the not-so-friendly nickname of the “Old Jacobin.” For all their Millian, free-speech high-mindedness, intellectuals like Peterson and writers for outlets like Quillette, which has ridden the back of figures like Peterson to style itself a great defender of Enlightenment values against the totalitarian left, are remarkably pessimistic about our human ability to alter our customs through rational critique.
Znalazłem przez Leiter Reports.