By Jacques Ellul
Jacques Ellul-much much less solemn in temper than usual-here cracks open political and sociological commonplaces, destructively and wittily demonstrating how our unthinking attractiveness of them encourages hypocrisy, smugness, and psychological inertia. one of the stereotypes of concept and speech hence exploded are such words as "You cannot act with no getting your palms soiled" "Work is freedom" "We needs to persist with the present of background" and "Women locate their freedom (dignity) in paintings" a undeniable variety of those previous saws preside over our lifestyle. they allow us to appreciate each other and to swim within the usual present of society. they're authorised as so definite that we nearly by no means query them. They serve right away as adequate causes for every little thing and as "clinchers" in too many arguments. Ellul explores the ways that such clichés misinform us and forestall us from having self sufficient thoughts-and in reality continue us from dealing with the issues to which they're theoretically addressed. they're the "new commonplaces" simply because the 19th century introduced forth many such commonplaces (they are enshrined in Leon Bloy's Exégése and Flaubert's Dictionnaire des idées reçues), so our century has been busy growing its personal. What Ellul has performed is to face nonetheless lengthy sufficient to examine them rigorously, assault them with cool cause, and go away them nakedly uncovered. during this amazing rfile, Ellul's caustic fearlessness is on the provider of truths that regularly are merciless, yet regularly are lucid and impassioned. He represents the voice of intelligence, and whereas doing so is frequently hilarious and constantly healing approximately concerns of first value.
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Extra resources for A critique of the new commonplaces.
See my hands therefore I have become a man. The circle is complete. false . modesty of the victor. " long as you do something! Still less Do anything at all, as does anybody ask him- worth the price he is ready to pay, the price of the filth, and if after all it might not be better to keep one's hands clean rather than do these idiotic things and undertake these pseudo-commitments, manifestos, announcements, signatures, and declarations. self whether The fact this action is is, of course, that it is difficult to draw the line between a political "action" whose own validity, significance, and complexities are almost impossible to discern and the moral, intellectual, or spiritual corruption to which the action forces you.
Then let us hasten to ask the one hundred and seventy-nine linguistic groups of the USSR if they became independent when the liberating power was directly substituted for the colonizing power of the czars. Then let's ask ourselves what China did in Tibet. And shall we side with Tshombe because Katanga does not have the same language as the province of Leopold ville? And let's break up Cameroun, where ten or twelve lan- guages are spoken. must And it, why stop? For after all, while we're at also correct the errors of history.
There certainly I is not a fact. Nor could I consider was yesterday. Yesterday is yesterno continuity between what I felt which made it possible for me to tell a woman I loved her, and what I am feeling now. Why should I be constrained by what I said yesterday? If today I feel and understand something else, I need only express this something else. If my words have changed, if my deeds have changed, that is only because I have changed; and since I know no other law than what I am hic et nunc why should what I was dictate my behavior in any way?