Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Once in a long while, the soundbites stops. Then the lone voice that used to thunder is heard again. Long before the use of www and the appearance of Wikipedia to advertise intellectual deformity, people actually read. They read from printed papers. They read from class notes. They read from hastily scribbled paragraphs on enevelopes or whatever scraps they can find. Sometimes if they starve, they get to buy a book. Ortega Y Gasset was one such a time.
Jeremiah had no spanish coffee.
So I offered Mr Gasset Nanyang Memorably. He asked me where Kampung Baru was. I told him he can take the LRT but may just land up in Rawang. He did not get the joke. He asked where the mass gathering at Petaling Jaya was. I said it was near Asia Jaya. Also by LRT. He asked me if it was possible to take the LRT to PutraJaya. I didn't get his joke. So we drank coffee.
He liked the coffee. This Mr Gasset 'live' from Jeremiah:
The mass crushes beneath it everything that is different, everything that is excellent, individual, qualified and select. Anybody who is not like everybody, who does not think like everybody, runs the risk of being eliminated.
(I swear the man was talking about that pendatang ismail!)
It is illusory to imagine that the mass-man of to-day will be able to control, by himself, the process of civilization. I say process, and not progress. The simple process of preserving our present civilization is supremely complex, and demands incalculably subtle powers. Ill-fitted to direct it is this average man who has learned to use much of the machinery of civilization, but who is characterized by root-ignorance of the very principles of that civilization.
(najib is finished!)
The command over the public life exercised today by the intellectually vulgar is perhaps the factor of the present situation which is most novel, least assimilable to anything in the past... the vulgar had never believed itself to have "ideas" on things. It had beliefs, traditions, experiences, proverbs, mental habits, but it never imagine itself in possession of theoretical opinions on what things are or ought to be. To-day, on the other hand, the average man has the most mathematical "ideas" on all that happens or ought to happen in the universe. Hence he has lost the use of his hearing. Why should he listen if he has within him all that is necessary? There is no reason now for listening, but rather for judging, pronouncing, deciding. There is no question concerning public life, in which he does not intervene, blind and deaf as he is, imposing his "opinions."
(The new moron: Reporter arrested for her own safety!)
(Even better than any C4 jokes!)
...there appears for the first time a type of man who does not want to give reasons or to be right, but simply shows himself resolved to impose his opinions. This is the new thing: the right not to be reasonable, the "reason of unreason." Here I see the most palpable manifestation of the new mentality of the masses, due to their having decided to rule society without the capacity for doing so.
(Dr. M: DREAM ON!!!)

The characteristic of the hour is that the commonplace mind, knowing itself to be commonplace, has the assurance to proclaim the rights of the commonplace and to impose them wherever it will.


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