By Jacques Ellul
Jacques Ellul-much much less solemn in temper than usual-here cracks open political and sociological commonplaces, destructively and wittily demonstrating how our unthinking attractiveness of them encourages hypocrisy, smugness, and psychological inertia. one of the stereotypes of notion and speech therefore exploded are such words as "You cannot act with no getting your arms soiled" "Work is freedom" "We needs to persist with the present of historical past" and "Women locate their freedom (dignity) in paintings" a undeniable variety of those previous saws preside over our everyday life. they allow us to appreciate each other and to swim within the usual present of society. they're approved as so yes that we virtually by no means query them. They serve instantaneously as enough factors for every little thing and as "clinchers" in too many arguments. Ellul explores the ways that such clichés lie to us and stop us from having self reliant thoughts-and in truth maintain us from dealing with the issues to which they're theoretically addressed. they're the "new commonplaces" simply because the 19th century introduced forth many such commonplaces (they are enshrined in Leon Bloy's Exégése and Flaubert's Dictionnaire des idées reçues), so our century has been busy developing its personal. What Ellul has performed is to face nonetheless lengthy adequate to examine them rigorously, assault them with cool cause, and go away them nakedly uncovered. during this notable rfile, Ellul's caustic fearlessness is on the provider of truths that frequently are merciless, yet consistently are lucid and impassioned. He represents the voice of intelligence, and whereas doing so is frequently hilarious and continuously healing approximately concerns of first value.
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Politics calls. We must live for her, and for her we must die. doubly empty, for the person who plays the game of dirty hands and has thrown himself into Sartrian pseudo-commitment has never chosen. He has never deliberated or weighed the reasons and the chances. This intellectualizing is Dirty hands are not the result of a decision or a commit- ment. The person monplace who protects himself behind this com- aware that he is none too clean and pretends choice, but this is far from the truth. The man who affects the grime of the worker is in reality immersed in a very different kind of filth.
But what do these successive sincerities matter, as long as you always state them with equal ardor, justifying these contradictions that, no doubt, express the reality of life? We are well aware that concern for moral rigor, intellectual coherence, ate A Critique of the New Commonplaces 25 mark of a narrow and obis outside the current of and one that mind, and continuity viously rigid [ in life are the history. The producers of commonplaces overflow with good they aspire to values that are uncertain but that they will; And confirm merely by expressing them.
The —for myself, but hesitation sets in not, of course, for who obey this commonwhen we ask ourselves which those admirably exacting souls place —the hesitation we mean. For sets in between the inside and the outside But the converse is also true, and does not the self I was yesterday or the one I intend or expect to be tomorrow have any part in my decision? The answer is self . clear. I . after all, . am bored with the people I am with, I feel like — $0 JACQUES ELLUL ] yawning, bors. I I yawn no longer attracts woman with myself.