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My Blog

Thinking of 2014!
31 December 2013

“Barbarism is not the prehistory of humanity but the faithful shadow that accompanies its every step”.

Alain Finkielkraut – Le mecontemporain

Clive James chose this quote for the opening of his book ‘Cultural Cohesion – the Essential Essays’. Alain Finkielkraut – is an essayist currently teaching at École Polytechnique as professor of the “history of ideas and modernity”.

The quote seems to be particularly relevant as we move towards the start of another year. I feel at times we take the good in life for granted, forgetting how frequently communities – including in Australia – can revert to racist, sexist and violent behaviour. Despite what we see and read every day on our devices, on television and in the print media, too many of us assure ourselves that ‘it wouldn’t happen here’, ‘we wouldn’t do that’, ‘that’s another country’.

Finkielkraut’s  quote is a sobering reminder of both a side of human behaviour we tend to ignore and the danger of complacency, it is a wake up call that no matter how far we develop our cultures, our technology and our understanding of our world, the darker side of humanity is never far away.


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