[OPE-L] Interlude: Jan Myrdal on the limits of rationality

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Thu Apr 06 2006 - 13:55:33 EDT

Jan Myrdal had this to say once about the limits of rationality (rather
pithy, strong statement without nuances or relativisations):

"....the unconscious one does not betray. He walks secure through life. But
we who are a part of the tradition....and carry on the tradition we have
betrayed with awareness, insight and consciousness, we have carefully
analyzed all the wars before they were declared. But we did not stop them.
(And many amongst us became the propagandists of the wars as soon as they
were declared.) We describe how the poor are plundered by the rich. We live
among the rich. Live on the plunder and pander ideas to the rich. We have
described the torture and we have put our names under appeals against
torture, but we did not stop it. (And we ourselves became torturers when the
higher interests demanded torture, and we became the ideologists of
torture.) Now we once more can analyze the world situation, and describe the
wars and explain why the many are poor and hungry. But we do no more. "We
are not the bearers of consciousness. We are the whores of reason."

--from Confessions of a Disloyal European, by Jan Myrdal

Lateron he added:

There are those intellectuals that live and write for grants, scholarships,
official honours, good criticism in the official reptile press and
membership of this or that academy. Of course I find them despicable. They
dress the economic and military needs of their masters in ideology. The
whores of reason, as I put it in "Confessions of a disloyal European".
Against them it is necessary that we as conscious writers who do not accept
and follow the political line now established by Washington behave
responsibly. We do that by discussing the present day reality openly and
seriously with arguments and counter-arguments as long as we can.
The ethnical, religious and cultural conflicts are increasing. But they do
not develop on their own. They serve the interests of the imperialists.
Today the most reactionary circles in Washington by using them try to
dismember not only China but also India, Iraq, Iran, Turkey and other
countries. Many Western intellectuals are being used as tools in this.
He who has witnessed a real communal riot knows that it is too late to argue
when throats are being slit. It is today that we must understand how to
write in order to increase mutual understanding and respect between
religions and cultures; to defuse the conflicts. Thus we must strive to
overcome the attempts to organize ideological crusades.

Source: http://www.fib.se/pensvar.html

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