By Zygmunt Bauman
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Extra info for Alone Again (Demos Papers)
In terms of the orthodox ‘state vs. individual’ dilemma, this is clearly a contradiction and promoting it seems like an effort to square the circle. And yet if any conclusions at all follow from our discussion so far, it is that the contradiction is illusory, and that the widespread uncritical acceptance of the illusion is itself a product of the tendencies which need to be rectified and of the orthodox thought that mimicked them. We have seen that all the designed and tried artificial substitutes for spontaneous moral impulses and the individual responsibility for the Other have failed, or worse, ended up disarming the ethical safeguards Demos This page is covered by the Demos open access licence.
The space we co-habit may be well and consensually structured; in such a space, in which many things vital to the life of each of us (transport, schools, surgeries, media of communication) are shared, we may see each other as conditions, rather than obstacles, to our well-being. Much as the fragmented and discontinuous life promotes the waning of moral impulses, a shared life of continuous and multi-faceted relationships would reinvigorate moral responsibilities and awaken the urge to shoulder the task of managing (now truly common) affairs.
Under closer scrutiny, the alleged medicine looks suspiciously like the disease. It is all too easy to expose other people’s hopes as not firmly enough founded, and their solutions as not realistic enough. It is much more difficult to propose one’s own warrants for hope and one’s own solutions that would be immune to similar charges. This is not because of the shortage of imagination or good will, but because the present human condition itself is shot through with ambivalence, and any diagnosis seems to point to two opposite directions simultaneously, towards developments whose compatibility is far from evident.
Alone Again (Demos Papers) by Zygmunt Bauman