Thursday, January 7, 2010

7/ The Redemption of Politics

If I am right that we live, most immediately, in a world we create ourselves, then that world is, indeed, a "political world."

Our collective actions shape, and create, the realities we experience, and "politics" is just another name for "collective action."

Since the world we have created is neither a worthy nor appealing place, as Bob Dylan's song makes so painfully clear, it may be appropriate to focus on the implications of the idea that "we all know for sure that it's real." What if it's not?

By "real" people often mean that something is "inevitable," unchangeable and absolute; that it exists "in fact," independently of what we think about it.

But in the "political world" created by our own collective actions, nothing is either absolute or inevitable. We create the realities in our world, and can remake the world on a different pattern.


  1. I'm not sure I entirely agree. First off, I've always felt that politics, like religion and other institutions, is a reflection of our society, its values, etc. Concepts like "real" and "truth" are relative to our individual time and place in our society. Have you ever read any of Karl Mannheim's writings on the sociology of knowledge?

  2. You know, Robert, I just came back to this posting and found your comment. I definitely have read Karl Mannheim. I don't think my point is antithetical! Hope all is well with you and your son.


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