Whicheverness: Beyond Dichotomy

Things pressure us to choose at least one from them. We are hardly able to leave them free without determining which is more preferable. If we hesitate to make up our mind to pick one up, we can’t avoid being regarded as indecisive. Those who tend to postpone determination can’t progress things. However, does choosing something always desirable?

Richard Rorty, one of representative philosophers in the late Twenty Century, expressed his “split-up” between publicness and privateness in an impressive essay, “Trotsky and the Wild Orchids.” He concluded as below:

The actually existing approximations to such a fully democratic, fully secular community now seem to me the greatest achievements of our species. In comparison, even Hegel’s and Proust’s books seem optional, orchidaceous extras.

In this quote, “Trotsky” refers to “the greatest achievements of our species,” and “wild orchid” to “Hegel’s and Proust’s books.”

While Rorty really loved “wild orchids,” he chose the achievement we human being did. He deeply understand the value of philosophy, and, at the same time, he deterministically threw away it to admire the value of democracy. I really sympathize with him. However, something is itching me, I feel.

Akira Asada, a Japanese critique who has been active and kept his influence for over 30 years, says that he preferred, in his youth, “piecemeal social engineering” coined by Karl Popper to childish idealism of new-lefts. However, he chose the value of art, literature, and contemporary thoughts in comparison to such a social engineering. That is, he adopted cultural value.

Tendency to adapting social engineering to make democracy more effective will have been important for a while. AI, nowadays, represents such technocratic methods of ruling and governing people. I don’t only sympathize with the trend, but also work as a tech person who is in charge of a tech company to progress it, even though we can contribute to it a few.

On the other hand, I can’t live without any culture that has intrigued me for long time. Having a time with books, cinemas, or something like them makes me truly happy. Not limited to personal preference, we can’t fully leave our thought and feeling independent from our body, a material substitute, even though social engineering treat us as if we can. Akira Asada said such a extreme way of thinking is kind of a romanticism that is far from coolness.

I’m wondering if we can leave the necessity of “split-up” to be hung in midair or not. I’d like to realize, at the same time, both of the two sides to achieve our goal to be good in the world which can be both beautiful and harsh. It is definitely certain a choice, too. However, I think the choice I’ve made here is better than one that forces us to choose which side, usefulness or beauty.

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