Friday, July 06, 2012

Reinventing the reinvention of the wheel....

"The motif of the circle will obsess us through this cycle of lectures."

Jacques Derrida

Just noted in passing, but I learned this:

The argument that I make in the book is that inequality is bad because of what it does to the people at the top of the social pyramid. That it actually makes the people at the top of the social pyramid worse… It just is impossible, in practical terms, to separate equality of opportunity from equality of outcome. The latter subverts the former almost as what I call in the book a kind of iron law.
in seminary, almost 20 years ago now.  And it wasn't  news then, either; nor a radical Marxist reinterpretation of the gospels.  It was very old news:

Woe to him who says,
"I shall build myself a spacious palace
with airy roof chambers and
windows set in it.
It will be paneled with cedar
and painted with vermilion."
Though your cedar is so splendid,
does that prove you a king?
Think of your father: he ate and drank,
dealt justly and fairly; all went well with him.
He upheld the cause of the lowly and poor;
then all was well.
Did not this show he knew me? says the Lord.
But your eyes and your heart are set on naught but gain, set only on the innocent blood you can shed,
on the cruel acts of tyranny you perpetrate.

Jeremiah 22: 14-17 (REB)

Those of you who've been around here, or search my archives, know that verse is a favorite of mine.  The very idea that care for the poor is care for all is an "iron law," in that it dates from the Iron Age, at least (well, late Bronze, I suppose, to be accurate).

When I hear the prating about human "progress" and the "march of civilization," and especially of how much more we know now than our ancestors knew then, I pause and consider how many times we are going to rediscover fire and reinvent the wheel, before we move on.....

1 comment:

  1. As so often, yours is the best post on this topic today, including the post that inspired it.