One of my all time favorite sentences by legendary MIT linguist (whose opus is now preserved here) is the following (from Introduction to D. Guerin. “Anarchism”). It describes what our ‘practical reason’ target should be in life.
“At every stage of history our concern must be to dismantle those forms of authority and oppression that survive from an era when they might have been justified in terms of the need for security or survival or economic development, but that now contribute to — rather than alleviate — material and cultural deficit”
Another remarkable contribution of his genius is the conference Democracy and Education, which remains (for me) one of the very best description of what an authentic growth process for a human being should be, in the spirit of John Dewey and Bertrand Russell.
The problem is how to link the hope that this is the right way to be alive, the right way to walk amongst fellow human beings, with a theoretically sound precept. It may well be that, in Kant’s words, there cannot be ‘pure’ construction of any practical reason. Nonetheless, Chomsky’s maxim keeps resonating.
Agree with Chomsky. However, the tricky thing is recognizing how these forms of authority and oppression work not only outside you, but mostly inside. The most insidious of all is the fear of the emptiness one experiences in the absence of rules, when faced with the responsibility of building something completely new. And yet this is when we, as human beings, really express our creative power. Yes, it is about setting ourselves free from oppression, but most importantly building the new, in ourselves as well as in our society.
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