Monday, August 18, 2008

Presentism and world events

It's always a pleasure to read Phillip Stott. He is of a generation of academics who not only understand their subject matter well but can place it within a broader context that encompasses a thorough grounding in the humanities, politics and real life -- in great contrast with the new generation who are encouraged by the system to narrowly focus and eschew the wider joys of intellectual freedom.

Here is a recent post by Stott, which focuses on the curse of presentism: viewing everything that might be happening today in isolation from the history and circumstances that pre-date the current situation.

Viewing constructs in isolation can constitute bias and could be construed as lying. But who could suspect today's political candidate's or even the government of that? Or today's media?

Because if the state lies and the central apparatus of the state lies, we'd be left with authoritarianism, and who would want to condone that?

What's next? Lip-syncing? Fake fireworks?