Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Not this, Lionel Trilling...from here
...An even more provocative version of this theme, "Freud: Within and Beyond Culture," was delivered as a lecture in 1955...here Trilling posed the issue as biology versus culture: biology representing the "given," the immutability of man's nature; culture, the forces of society ("civilization," as Freud put it) that strove to alter and overcome biology[...]Unlike most of his listeners, who regarded any idea of a "given" as "reactionary," Trilling insisted that the givenness of our biological condition was, in fact, "liberating"--liberating man from a culture that would otherwise be absolute and omnipotent. "Somewhere in the child, somewhere in the adult, there is a hard, irreducible, stubborn core of biological urgency, and biological necessity, and biological reason that culture cannot reach and that reserves the right, which sooner or later it will exercise, to judge the culture and resist and revise it."
Nice. Trilling again (from article):
"Some paradox of our natures leads us, when once we have made our fellow men the objects of our enlightened interest, to go on to make them the objects of our pity, then of our wisdom, ultimately of our coercion. It is to prevent this corruption, the most ironic and tragic that man knows, that we stand in need of the moral realism which is the product of the free play of the moral imagination."


  1. Indeed it's nice. I have reached that "sooner or later" point. Out of context, however, I cannot make much sense of the second quote. Damn, will have to go to the (second) link you have provided. Shame on you for the first one (youtube).

  2. haha, shame on me? shame on YOU for HATING CHILDREN. not really, more power to ya

    Second quote is RE: the tendency of us, once we work to understand the perspective of someone, to move towards coercing them into what we feel would be best for them - ultimately (when not checked) the desire to understand leading to the idea of us being able to dictate their actions for their own good.