Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Media Plague

The Plague:
"Two cuts with the scalpel in the form of a cross and the glands discharged a mixture of pus and blood.  The patients bled, in agony.  Dark patches appeared on the belly and the legs, a lymph node would cease to suppurate, then it swelled up again. More often than not, the patient died, with an appalling smell about him."
"The press, which had had so much to say about the business of the [plague of infected] rats, fell silent.  This is because rats die in the street and people in their bedrooms; and newspapers are only concerned with the street."

Camus is a careful observer here.  The press is concerned with the streets and not with the bedroom, or more literally, with the soul.  The press is generally concerned with the social and political.  The solutions to problems thus tend to be structural.  Hence (for example) the ubiquitous claims of structural racism (which is rarely defined).

On the conservative understanding, the problems start with the soul.  The main root of societal dysfunction stems from individual choice.  No doubt, structural changes (e.g. changes in law) can have a positive effect on the soul and thus society more generally, but the structural cause is secondary and not primary.  The primary cause of societal ills starts in the bedroom.  And so the press tends to focus our attention on surface solutions (such as changes in laws.)

If one wants to change society for the better, one needs to read more than the news and politics. Moreover, one needs to do more than read.  One needs to embark on soul formation.

No comments:

Post a Comment