By Jacques Ellul

Jacques Ellul-much much less solemn in temper than usual-here cracks open political and sociological commonplaces, destructively and wittily demonstrating how our unthinking reputation of them encourages hypocrisy, smugness, and psychological inertia. one of the stereotypes of proposal and speech hence exploded are such words as "You cannot act with out getting your arms soiled" "Work is freedom" "We needs to stick to the present of heritage" and "Women locate their freedom (dignity) in paintings" a undeniable variety of those outdated saws preside over our lifestyle. they enable us to appreciate each other and to swim within the traditional present of society. they're approved as so convinced that we virtually by no means query them. They serve straight away as enough factors for every little thing and as "clinchers" in too many arguments. Ellul explores the ways that such clichés lie to us and forestall us from having self reliant thoughts-and in reality maintain us from dealing with the issues to which they're theoretically addressed. they're the "new commonplaces" simply because the 19th century introduced forth many such commonplaces (they are enshrined in Leon Bloy's Exégése and Flaubert's Dictionnaire des idées reçues), so our century has been busy growing its personal. What Ellul has performed is to face nonetheless lengthy sufficient to examine them rigorously, assault them with cool cause, and depart them nakedly uncovered. during this notable rfile, Ellul's caustic fearlessness is on the provider of truths that frequently are merciless, yet constantly are lucid and impassioned. He represents the voice of intelligence, and whereas doing so is frequently hilarious and continually healing approximately concerns of first value.

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But since nor by intention, nor I its can grasp is never to pretend, always to be this self by a is defined neither by value, nor by an past, its essence, since only in the impression of the moment, this self merely you follow your guts, most elementary thing, your desires in the reaction to the present, sincerity consists in reflecting the present. ). You choose the lowest implies discipline level, for the about passion in the true sense, for that talk impulses of the on the lowest level; you moment following the most glandular of be no are generally situated and while determinisms, you claim to tolerate constraint, free.

A Critique of the New Commonplaces It is 39 obvious that Péguy 's celebrated remark about work- who have ers [ dirty hands and those "who have no hands all" has become the basis for a shameless Péguy could see the use that is made of at exploitation. If he would be rather surprised, for it provides an excuse, a front, and a bleach job for all those who delight in getting their hands into the political manure and worry very little and sometimes not at all ( and for that matter would be quite incapable of worrying even if they wanted to ) about having clean hands.

This social current provides instant identity, imposes tastes, fashions, vocabularies, on us; makes form. us, and It is we want to be what the social current in this admirable rush of sincerity, we con- not astonishing to observe that the groups that respect this watchword of sincerity to oneself are as con- formist as possible, with the result that the individuals making up these groups are perfectly interchangeable their selves are identical. Innumerable nouvelle vague bear witness to the-leaderism this fact.

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A critique of the new commonplaces. by Jacques Ellul


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