04 October 2007

A Flurry

Yesterday I mentioned a flurry of posts, then posted twice. Three times constitutes "flurry," so here you go: a quote from Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life (Albert Borgmann), pp. 176-177.

We can unfold it [the one way in which we respond to a matter of final significance] by attending to the discourse in which an ultimate concern becomes eloquent. The attitude will be one of enthusiasm, sympathy, and tolerance. To be enthusiastic, according to the original sense of the word, is to be filled with the divine. Something is of ultimate concern if it is divine in a catholic sense, if it is greater and more enduring than myself, a source of guidance and solace and of delight. It is from enthusiasm that one draws the courage of speaking to others in a way that finally matters. In this way, enthusiasm leads to sympathy, the concern for the integrity and final well-being of my fellow human beings. In sympathy I want to share the greatness that I have experienced; I want the others to respond as I have responded; and since divinity has addressed and filled me in the fullness and subtlety of my powers, sympathy does not desire allegiance simply but one that comes from the undiminished capacities of the other, i.e., one that confirms the other's integrity. I will therefore reject or accept with reservations someone's allegiance when it engages only some of that person's faculties, and I will forestall an allegiance if its accomplishment would injure a person's capacities. Thus sympathy leads to tolerance. Tolerance springs from the realization that, if violence is used to give deictic discourse compelling force, the method of addressing someone disables that person fro mgrasping fully what I want to say. And my use of compulsion is itself oblivious to the character of the thing on whose behalf I want to speak.
From the quote itself, you'd think perhaps Borgmann was talking about mission rather than about technology. Probably you'd be thinking correctly, to some extent.

I like this quote except for one thing: it doesn't appear until chapter 21. Granted, that's sort of where it needs to appear, but it's rather a ways to getting there.

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