Gods and Monsters
A British philosopher seeks political redemption in the spiritual realm
When the center cannot hold, public attention turns to the passionate intensity of those who are destroying it or amusing themselves with its destruction. But what becomes of the public itself in this process—and of citizens’ dignity and prospects?
Aristotle considered humans beastly without the sphere of “the political,” through which we envision and bind ourselves to common undertakings. Political “speech acts” are imaginative, almost fictive, projections into an unknowable future, but our choices of some fictions over others have consequences. If politics falters, words and deeds soon part company, as Hannah Arendt warned; the words become empty, the deeds brutal, and citizens the subjects of accident and force.
Simon Critchley, a British philosopher at the New School for Social Research, has scant
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