Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A Philosopher Must Have a Good Memory

Richard M. Weaver has contributed to the strand of libertarianism that is overtly conservative in nature. He is a great critic of modernity. He equates modernism with provincialism. Here’s an excerpt from his book Ideas Have Consequences (Page 68):

“Indeed, modernism is in essence a provincialism, since it declines to look beyond the horizon of the moment, just as the countryman may view with suspicion what­ ever lies beyond his county. There is a strong reason to group this with psychopathic phenomena because it in­volves impairment of memory, which is known to be one of the commonest accompaniments of mental pathology. It is apparent, moreover, that those who are in rebellion against memory are the ones who wish to live without knowledge; and we can, in fact, tell from their conduct that they act more than others on instinct and sensation. A frank facing of the past is unpleasant to the tender-minded, teaching as it does sharp lessons of limitation and retribution. Yet, the painful lessons we would like to forget are precisely the ones which should be kept for reference. Santayana has reminded us that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, and not without reason did Plato declare that a philosopher must have a good memory.”

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