Georgy Satarov: ‘The Worse Things Get, The Worse Things Will Be’ (Ezhednevnyi zhurnal)

posted 20 Sep 2014, 06:42 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 20 Sep 2014, 06:54 ]
16 September 2014

By Georgy Satarov 

Source: Ezhednevnyi zhurnal

"The borders of folly and wisdom are marked so indistinctly that one can hardly walk long in the one region without making at times a little digression into the other" - I. Kant, Dreams of a Visionary Explained by Dreams of Metaphysics, 1766 [Source of translated quotation: Immanuel Kant, DREAMS OF A SPIRIT- SEER, translated by EMANUEL F. GOERWITZ]

First commentary, to the epigraph. This is the thought of a genius, most delicately expressed, much less trivial than it might seem to someone at first sight. It has a great number of interpretations and consequences. Here are just a few, the most necessary for my text. First: what each of us says very often seems wise to us ourselves and even to those we are addressing, despite the fact that later on life shows that what hides beneath the covering is a self-evident folly. More than that, it often happens that life removes this covering more than once, systematically giving us evidence of the wisdom of the contrary assertion, but the folly is announced time and again, and each time is clothed in rationality. Second: more frequently what is wise is perceived by many as total folly. But here there are so many outstanding examples that I would ask you to consider my referring to this fact as my merely paying a debt to academic pedantry. Third: folly and wisdom are not only characteristic of our pronouncements, but also of our actions. And here everything is much more serious since there is the danger of very serious consequences. That is why Kant warns us to keep a distance from the borders, especially at times when there is a risk that someone might believe in the wisdom of our proposals and begin to put them into practice. [Read more]