My buddy Carole is a gem. This afternoon she told me she’d never met anyone like me and wonders how my life will turn out. So do I! We were talking about the things I do. I keep trying to figure out what it is, actually, that I “do.” 🙂 And why! Since what I do often results in distress (for me and for others, to varying degrees and intensities, situationally). Is there something I bring that is actually an “asset”, and if so, what is it? Am I misusing or misapplying it? Are there other ways to “use” it than the ways I currently know?
Maybe I’m trying “to do” what Arturo Uslar Pietri prohesied during the height of technological determinism, believing communication would solve all the major world problems: participation “in everything that happens [to which] we will react accordingly, outside the bounds of ideology, models, and commands” (in Mattelart, 127).
Briankle was talking about “the double play of ideology” in class the other night. How the real bite of ideology, where it does its work, is upon those who profess to “see” the system, or have the privilege or subjective means to withdraw from it temporarily (for instance, via meditation), and yet continue to participate in it. I do not at all believe that I’m operating outside of ideology, but I do wonder if part of what I do by living in a kind of “resistance” (I use the word guardedly, for lack of an alternative) is to somehow identify the work of ideology in us? Oy I am going to get in so much trouble for this!
On Democracy Now this evening, Amy Goodman interviewed Ward Churchill about his description of WTC technocrats as “little Eichmanns”. I didn’t hear the whole interview, but I did hear the part about Arendt’s experience of going to see Eichmann, whom she had imagined as evil personified, and discovering what a typically ordinary person he really was – loved by his children, active in his community, doing what he was told as a function of his bureaucratic job with a sense of detachment from the actual outcomes of his labor.
This essay, Eichmann, the Banality of Evil, and Thinking in Arendt’s Thought applies Arendt’s argument about the banality of evil, and includes a discussion of the difference between the commonplace and the banal. Maybe that’s where I need practice? In distinguishing between these two? Or maybe this is something that can’t be known (recognized?) until called into question?