Category Archives: Gadamer

Letters from an Atheist: Post-Perfectionism

No quote today. Just an announcement: I stopped reading. Obviously not quite, nobody can actually stop reading, nor do I have the intention to try to do something that is not quite possible. What I want to say is that I stopped reading for the purpose of being better at being well-read. Or shorter: I stopped reading for a purpose. Is this a big fucking deal? It isn’t, I suppose. What is?

I started out as a doubting atheist looking for a ‘clean’ solution. Looking for ‘the’ clean solution, in fact. A solution that would settle things once and for all. I have ended up a convinced atheist who knows that his first hunches were correct all along. More on that later, more on why those hunches were non-coincidental, below the fold. ‘Nothing is true, some things are false’ is the summary of my hunches. But how to sell that? How to make that catchy? How to win the charity of readers necessary for them to hear me out? I don’t know. What I do know is that something will need to come after modernism and post-modernism (and that it is unlikely to feature the term ‘modernism’). My proposal is the following: after post-modernism came perfectionism and the right term for the post-60’s up to now is that: perfectionism. We are a generation that wants things to be perfect or ‘as perfect as can be’. Error is to be minimized and, where possible, to be eliminated. An essential feature of progress is in fact seen to be the possibility of identifying areas where errors can be eliminated instead of just being minimized.

My proposal after having stopped reading is this: our next step is to move on to a view that can be best labeled as post-perfectionism.

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Die exemplarische Bedeutung der juristischen Hermeneutik

“Wo das nicht der Fall ist, wo etwa, wie im Absolutismus, der Wille des absoluten Herrschers über dem Gesetz steht, kann es keine Hermeneutik geben, ‘da ein Oberherr seine Worte auch wider den Regeln gemeiner Auslegung erklären kann’. (..) Die Aufgabe des Verstehens und Auslegens besteht eben nur dort, wo etwas so gesetzt ist, dass es als das Gesetzte unuafhebbar und verbindlich ist.” Hans-Georg Gadamer, Gesammelte Werke, Hermeutik 1, Wahrheit und Methode, JCB Mohr Tübingen 1990, p. 334 (the innerquote is from Walch).

(amateuristic English Translation: “Where this is not the case, where for instance, as in absolutism, the will of the absolute ruler stands above that of the law, there can be no hermeneutics, ‘because an overlord can explain his words also against the rules of common explanation’. (..) The mission of understanding and of explanation exists only there where something is set in such a way as to become, as law, both binding and unremovable.” (it is for me impossible to render the wordplay on setzen and Gesetz in English).”

Let’s see whether I can still do this. As I happen to be (still) reading Gadamer let me try to apply Gadamer to actual events. In an odd way, this may be the most fitting way to go about things. Anyway, I am annoyed. Not so much by absolute rulers as by those who want to rule based on what they understand as the absolute correctness of their position.

Yes, where I want to go is here: it seems to me that those who take pride in positioning themselves as being to far left of centre are basically just taking pride in being far better than the average (human being).

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