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Nothing to do With the Social Web

(Sourced from Mousebert's Blog)

First, a warning: This post has nothing to do with social media and activism and only a peripheral connection to current affairs (the continuing presence in many cultures, including among Western intellectuals, of anti-semitism), which I usually write about.

It is about a perfectly felicitous coincidence.

At the suggestion of my intelligent and aggressively iconoclastic colleague — Stephen Carter (@carter_AB) — I am reading Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. One of Haidt's earliest views as a social psychologist is this:

People make moral judgments quickly and emotionally. Moral reasoning was mostly just a post hoc search for reasons to justify the judgments people had already made.

In other words passion drives reason. Seems right to me, especially when you think of the ridiculous partisan defences of political activists.

Now, over dinner tonight I was reading an article by music director and pianist Daniel Barenboim in the June 20, 2013 issue of the New York Review of Books about Richard Wagner's anti-Semitism and was struck by this quote from Wagner's literary work Opera and Drama cited in Barenboim's article:

In the Drama, we must become knowers through the Feeling. The Understanding tells us: 'So is it," — only when the Feeling has told us: "So it must be."

The parallels with Haidt (and as Haidt points out — political philosopher David Hume) are spooky.

I guess I was meant to learn something from this day's reading.

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