Monday, September 3, 2007

“…hypocrisy plays an important role in the realization of human societies, permitting human beings under stress to feign having certain properties which they abandon as soon as the stress is removed. This is why in a human society a social change takes place as a permanent phenomenon only to the extent that it is a cultural change: a revolution is only a revolution if it is an ethical revolution.”


suzanne said...

Humbert Maturana & Francisco Varela, Autopoiesis and Cognition

konrad said...

It's a short quote but my sense is that hypocrisy doesn't have that noble a function.

Hypocrisy is more like a kind of ethical personal lubricant. But then, sometimes people only seem to contradict themselves, but really there is a hidden consistancy.

Are you reading Katherine Hayles?

suzanne said...


also yes, i agree about 'hidden' consistency. i think i understand you to be talking about what's hidden at the level of being, and i am wondering at the level of language.

konrad said...

i think i'm talking on the level of action. how the meaning of a gesture (verbal or otherwise) is composed thru time, though it also appears to have an instant meaning.

It's hidden in duration, bc it takes time to understand the gesture -- its consequences, implications, the context of prior or further gestures & qualifications, or simply one's being "slow on the uptake" etc.

I don't know what route you took to that book, but Hayles does a fascinating read on it in "How We Became Post Human"