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Bicentennial - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
From Karl Marx, "Introduction To a Critique of Political Economy"--
An adult cannot become a child again, or he becomes childish. But does the naïveté of the child not give him pleasure, and does not he himself endeavour to reproduce the child's veracity on a higher level? Does not in every epoch the child represent the character of the period in its natural veracity? Why should not the historical childhood of humanity, where it attained its most beautiful form, exert an eternal charm because it is a stage that will never recur?

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4 comments or Leave a comment
bitterlawngnome From: bitterlawngnome Date: May 6th, 2009 03:51 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Uh yeah, people in olden times were stupid, and we're smart.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: May 7th, 2009 04:02 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I don't think that's what he meant, really, but it's certainly not hard to see how the metaphor could and did lead to some terrible consequences.

Lately, I'm really interested in the attempt to use children as an example for something they aren't, the move to either get reacquainted with one's literal or figurative "inner child" or the argument, delineated here, that such a desire can only lead to frustration.
bitterlawngnome From: bitterlawngnome Date: May 7th, 2009 04:24 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
How do you understand it? I can't really see anything other than "noble savage" in this statement.

Quite apart from which I think it's wrong about children, who are just as capable of being deceitful, cruel, and unhappy, as adults; the only difference being that they have less power to enforce their will on other people.

Probably a projection of my own experience; I hated childhood.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: May 7th, 2009 04:32 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Oh, I see what you meant. I should have included more of the quote. It's not one of those arguments about the noble savage, though I can see why it seemed that way. He's talking about the art of ancient Greece, wanting to acknowledge its greatness while also indicating that it makes no sense to try to mimic it under what were then current conditions, i.e. mid-nineteenth-century European capitalism. So it's not pro-child or pro-adult, but an attempt to use the metaphor -- one which can lead to trouble, obviously -- to advance a kind of historical relativism.
4 comments or Leave a comment