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The Philosophical Future

Man’s Psychic Journey: End or Beginning?


Charles R. Reid

This book surveys the breadth of mankind’s postmodern malaise, which is achieved through a discussion of the major challenges, social and psychological, which every individual faces in the effort to live fully in the twenty-first century. These challenges lay in broadly familiar domains: self- and group-consciousness; common man and his place in a future society in which mental activity dominates; work and leisure; knowledge and values accruing from it, both for self and others; possibilities in education; civilization, with its “Dark Age” phenomena and its dreams of progress; the role of the past in contemporary life; and power, both in society and within the sovereign individual who, though bound by physical and intellectual limits, functions as a seeker after the freedom and self-fulfillment which are so wholly integral to the human condition. And finally a serious question: What fate awaits the perpetual non-conformist, whose views, however unwelcome in his own time and in a contemporary environment, may in fact anticipate future living conditions?

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Chapter Three: Common Man and His Critics: From Ridicule and Exhortation to Parity in an Age of Political Correctness


chapter three

Common Man and His Critics: From Ridicule and Exhortation to Parity in an Age of Political Correctness

Today, perhaps more than ever in the past, the question remains worth asking: How often do we meet some modern Apollo, some adult human with the higher-order qualities Nietzsche could so carefully note (“measured restraint, freedom from wild emotions, philosophical calm”)? An honest answer will no doubt be not very often. This ideal still resonates, nevertheless, and not least in mass consciousness itself. For why should it be otherwise? By nature man is bound to seek perfection in all things, in himself most of all. Yet at the same time what experience tells us is that no amount of conscious striving for so absolute a goal can result in achieving it absolutely.

There is in fact no credible evidence from history of “perfect achievers.” The same may be said for societies and civilizations. Post-event, we lack the judgment, to say nothing of the information, to point out even those few who may have come close. What we do know is that ordinary man in the aggregate, then and now, cannot be accurately portrayed as, at one extreme, an exalted, self-controlled Apollonian superman, or at the opposite pole, a completely hopeless ignoramus and predictably immoral backslider.

Even so, the impartial observer tends to think in terms of a “deviance indicator.” Automatically he “spots” a deviant motive behind the actions of even established public figures...

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