A Society Without Paradox Dies

Humans are the most paradoxical species.

We love to stay still and we love to move. We love order and we love change. We love Self and we love the Other. We love the familiar and we love what’s foreign. We love unity and we love diversity.

It’s why we’re the most beautiful species.

When we’re balanced in the ever-generative golden mean between the two paradoxical extremes. As a species we need each, but there are then going to be particular individuals who prefer one over the other.

When one group or the other becomes dominant in a society, the society becomes unbalanced, unstable, and either falls apart or has to undergo a massive change, emerging into a new level of complexity, where new balances between new paradoxical pairs emerge. Insofar as imbalance can result in collapse, imbalance is bad. Rootedness is bad because it’s an extreme (like the extreme of cowardice in Aristotle’s identification of courage as being between cowardice and rashness). In an individual or in a family, it might be good, providing a stabilizing feature for a society, but it’s bad as a way of being for an entire people.

In order to have a healthy society, we need people who are creative and people who don’t seem to have a creative bone in their body. We need leaders and followers. Thinkers-outside-the-box and thinkers well within the box.  Each has his or her role (include masculine and feminine). And there are going to be people along each of these spectra, including neurodiversity. We need autistics and neurotypicals, bipolars and schizophrenics. We need conservatives and liberals, left and right versions of each, conservatives like (the grossly misnamed) progressives, socialists, and Religious Right, liberals like libertarians, left-liberals, and neoliberals. Yes, we need them all (even when they’re mostly wrong about human nature, science, society, economics, etc.).

The enemy of thought, the enemy of creativity, the enemy of freedom is the lack of enemies.

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I’ve Got No Roots

Before Homo was sapiens, people have wandered.

We’re wandering apes–it’s why we’ve spread across the globe.

Rootedness is for plants. If you wish to live in a vegetative state, be rooted in the soil.

The most dynamic societies–those that encourage the feet, the mind, the soul to wander–are the wealthiest, healthiest ones (they are well-fed and -exercised).

If you want a society to rot–politically, philosophically, economically–root its people.

Believe in one way of thinking, of believing, of being is belief in rootedness. Blood and soil, political correctness, the totalitarian thinking of reducing everything to politics, to economics, to race, to sex, to gender, to aesthetics, to the natural sciences, to religion–each of these are forms of rootedness.

Heidegger, the Nazi philosopher, was the philosopher of rootedness. He said the Jews weren’t rooted. He said cosmopolitanism was the opposite of rootedness. He said cosmopolitanism and Jewishness were related.

America is the least rooted of all countries to have ever existed. That is its strength. The more people seek to root it, the weaker, poorer American becomes.