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Chaos is a ladder

Started by Razgovory, February 23, 2024, 05:41:08 PM

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Tamas

The lack of grand narrative is a comforting thought but which societies right now benefit from grand narratives? Russia, China, Hungary? Hardly success stories or desirable places.

And if we mean things like Cold War era USA as a place with a grand narrative then I am really not sure the country was as calm and uncertain about its own future as that would made it out to be. Certainly not from the moment the status quo elites lost their grip on the cultural narrative (so say 60s).

Sheilbh

Quote from: Tamas on Today at 09:33:09 AMThe lack of grand narrative is a comforting thought but which societies right now benefit from grand narratives? Russia, China, Hungary? Hardly success stories or desirable places.

And if we mean things like Cold War era USA as a place with a grand narrative then I am really not sure the country was as calm and uncertain about its own future as that would made it out to be. Certainly not from the moment the status quo elites lost their grip on the cultural narrative (so say 60s).
So I think maybe metanarrative is better than grand narrative. It's a way of interpreting and understanding the world - a narrative of the various disparate narratives happening in a society. I think "grand narrative" maybe gives the national glory spin of that (and that is an example - one that Macron mentions) - but, as I say, progress is a metanarrative, the Enlightenment is.

I'm not sure that any societies have metanarratives that are still around and widely believed. I think post-modernism describes a lot of the world's societies. I'd argue the opposite, that Russia and Hungary are the examples of extreme post-modern societies (if you're an authoritarian society you don't really need the metanarrative as much to get collective action because you're comfortable with coercing people).

But you're right, maybe China, maybe India - they spring to mind but even there (and I'm no expert) they don't seem modernist.

I don't think it's about calmness or certainty or even consensus. Politics in a democratic society will and should be contentious. In America it has a tendency to be very fractious and often violent. But I think it is about agency and that we are, collectively, able to act - the grand hero, voyage, goals, perils and dangers. As Macron puts it that sense of political heroism rather than the current political helplessness/nothing mattersness.
Let's bomb Russia!