Monday, July 9, 2007

A Comfortable Chaos

"For oft we see a wicked peace to be well changed for war."
-S. Daniel-

People who make it their business to ensure that other people understand them, and, slightly less important, that they understand other people, make no end of gassing on about Engaging with The Other on Its Own Terms.* There are two things to consider here: the first is the caveat that these people are usually a far sight nicer than I, at least for the first few minutes. The second is that their picked policy of engagement is only as valuable as the terms agreed upon, and these usually end up being some tenebrous compromise between two otherwise opposing paradigms; a compromise arrived at not so much from a desire for Mutual Understanding* as from an unflinching courtesy that unwittingy craves chaos. Remove all manner of disursive authority from the fray, and politeness can exist even between antagonists who would have flayed each other alive a few centuries prior. While this kind of discussion bears no benefit, neither does it threaten with much discomfort, as those engaged have tasted and grown familiar with the ideological courses of their opponent, and consequently neither fear nor regard them; they are only another fleeting sensation on the casual sophist's palate; to be momentarily enjoyed, and if retained at all, then retained only as a triviality. It follows that the Understanding which was initially the goal is only possessed in an adulterated form, and we have not reached out and met our antagonist half way as we hoped, or pretended that we might. We have only reached out and borrowed his glass for a short swallow.

Naturally, all of this only dillutes whatever argument was our first cause for engagement. But this is the solace that Relativism offers, that a willful confusion of ones own principles is a small offering to be made in the name of more convivial relations with ones enemies, political, intellectual, religious or other. It may make us all equally barbaric, but we run no risk of confrontation. And this is the exchange that every sincere relativist is willing to make, and even more importantly, the Genius of Relativism itself; the willingness to convert to a Polite Barbarism.

7 comments:

Thomas Banks said...

I should explain those *s in the body of the post. The first is, that if you do not know which people I speak of, you can probably find some of them down at the local organic produce market, or friendly neighborhood organic protest sign manufacturer.

The second star indicates my impending self-hatred at my actually having used the phrase "Mutual Understanding." Apologies.

Bennett said...

you are forgiven, bom. poets this week?

Thomas Banks said...

Sure thing. Where?

Bennett said...

thursday night, james' house. i'll call you.

The wanderer A said...

Well, the spreader of propoganda is at it again. Well done, you have once again left a post which I will be stuck in a dictionary for a while for. Once Chad gets back, we will be starting Parnassus up again in full swing, so you can find some obscure poor, dillusional soul that calls himself a poet to read from. cheers!

Bennett said...

...or i would call you if i had your number. 8pm. thursday. james' house. be there or be elsewhere.

Thomas Banks said...

Where exactly is the right noble Arrick's pad located?