Friday, May 13, 2016

Liana Voia video interview with Denis Rancourt: Insights


Levantine said...

The finish was great.

Some of the question topics were embarrassingly intimate.

Now, I’m going to comment particular things:

66-67. min I’m willing to use whatever methods the circumstances dictate would be most effective, as judged by me.

Since that is what's basically an engineer’s attitude, and since engineers’ work involves aesthetical choices (so I say and a number of engineers agree), and since a person's aesthetics are very much influenced by what one has been - and is - exposed to, how do would you pronounce yourself about your attitudes to aesthetics in everyday life and in nature?

If theory must take a second place to action and making one's own way, and things like talking a walk and meeting friends are commonsense choices, are aesthetical choices also trivial in the life of someone who struggles?

I arranged the comments from the most difficult to the lighter.

"The anarchists and the libertarians have a special place in my heart....."

I’ve outgrown my fascination with anarchism and libertarianism; but if “a special place” in other people’s hearts demands being stupider, my gut response is: how about going back? :)

The anarchists and the libertarians have a special place in my heart because they understand the essential importance of the individual in fighting organized systems of oppression. They value that. They see it as the last stronghold, if you like.

Perhaps you're unaware of this exception: there was a great anarchist, who “stood at the apex …. of the informal sector of the polity, which enjoyed a degree of hegemony over the formal sector that has no modern counterpart,” he was a most fervent revolutionary, and he stated: “Individuals if they are separated from their families - the individual without a family has no value or social life.”

I have a lot of problems with that denial of individual’s value. And, I also see many reasons to challenge this notion of ‘essential importance of the individual in fighting oppression’:

* Individual persons, personalities if you wish, can develop only in communities.
* Individuals fighting oppression survive due to some communities.
* As a thinking being, everyone is in internal conflict, which is subversive to the very notion of an individual with integrity
* Liberty as such is a vacuous concept. You have to have an idea _how_ to use liberty, in the first place…
* Western culture’s emphasis on individualism is exceptional in world history. In that context, is it really all that radical and communicationally effective to argue that the individual is at the heart of the matter?

45:00 It’ very easy to know what is wrong

Given how people fail on that easy kind of task, there must be some mental prerequirements for executing it.

I’m starting to learn why people are withdrawn

I didn’t quite expect that from you.

the great diversity of people’s psychological styles

Good point, seldom made.

the Baby Boomers

Many people hold a grudge against them. On the other hand, the great critic Rancourt … completely at peace. Noteworthy.

Denis Rancourt said...

Hey Levantine: Thanks for your reactions to my words. The interview was spontaneous because I had no idea what Liana would ask, except that I trusted her to be completely fair. I followed her in her design for the interview, which I learned as it progressed. On the question of the role of the individual, I develop that much more in my book of essays. But you have probably read most of those essays already. As always, each statement could probably be developed into a whole interview of its own, and would need to be discussed in reaction to each listener's understanding. Cheers, Denis