Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Power, ideology, "superior slogans," and thinking in light of the Cross

Building on some remarks by Eugene Ionesco on ideology and the power of slogans I ran across a few days ago, which arose in the context of him discussing his dislike for those he termed demi-intellectuals, namely his observation that such people are quick to "adopt slogans and are imprisoned by power." Hence, "they are people who don't really think," but who only think they think, when all they do is adopt the slogans of whatever power is ascendant. "They succumb to superior slogans," he said.

One person of Ionesco's time who truly and deeply thought and was never taken by slogan, except to resist them, was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who wrote in his Ethics:

In a world where success is the measure and justification of all things the figure of Him who was sentenced and crucified remains a stranger and is at best the object of pity. The world will allow itself to be subdued only by success. It is not ideas or opinions which decide, but deeds. Success alone justifies wrongs done... With a frankness and off-handedness which no other earthly power could permit itself, history appeals in its own cause to the dictum that the end justifies the means... The figure of the Crucified invalidates all thought which takes success for its standard (extract from Mataxes book on Bonhoeffer, pg 363)

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