Wednesday, October 29, 2008


“But what I still don’t understand is this: That people should love each other, and that it takes a firm hand in government to make them do it, is nothing new. So why should it suddenly be a case of either/or.?”

“There’s one of those Marxists over there,” Strumm explained, “who seems to be claiming that a person’s economic superstructure entirely determines his ideological superstructure. And there’s a psychoanalyst denying it and insisting that the ideological superstructure is entirely the product of man’s instinctual substructure.”


No matter whether the substructure is economic or sexual, well, what I wanted to say before is: Why are people so unreliable is their superstructure? You know the common saying that the world is crazy; it is getting all to easy to believe its true!”
That’s the psychology of the masses, Your Grace,” the learned General interposed again. “So far as it applies to the masses it makes sense to me. The masses are moved only by their instincts, and of course that means by those instincts most individuals have in common; that’s logical. That’s to say, it’s illogical, of course. The masses are illogical; they only use logic for window dressing. [dad, Alex] What they really let themselves be guided by is simply and solely suggestion! Give me the newspapers, the radio, the film industry and maybe a few other avenues of cultural communication, and within a few years—as my friend Ulrich once said—I promise I’ll turn people into cannibals! That’s precisely why mankind needs strong leadership, as Your Grace knows far better than I do. But that even highly cultivated individuals are not motivated by logic in some circumstances is something I find it hard to believe, though Arnheim says so.”

Musil, A Man Without Qualities, 1107

Musil and other passages trimmed down to a single sentence could be chapter headings.

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