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Gryphonadmin
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Mar-14-14, 11:19 PM (EST)
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"Better-Than-Expected Company"
 
   I'm sure this comes as no surprise to the cooler kids, and I'm only lifting the lid on my own unhipness by making note of it, but: I'm reading a selection from the works of Immanuel Kant for in-class discussion when school resumes next week, as we've just about reached the Enlightenment in the 16th-through-19th-century Europe class I'm taking, and I ran across the following:

Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why such a large part of mankind gladly remain minors all their lives, long after nature has freed them from external guidance. They are the reasons why it is so easy for others to set themselves up as guardians. It is so comfortable to be a minor. If I have a book that thinks for me, a pastor who acts as my conscience, a physician who prescribes my diet, and so on - then I have no need to exert myself. I have no need to think, if only I can pay; others will take care of that disagreeable business for me. Those guardians who have kindly taken supervision upon themselves see to it that the overwhelming majority of mankind - among them the entire fair sex - should consider the step to maturity not only as hard, but as extremely dangerous.

Immanuel Kant, "What Is Enlightenment?" trans. Peter Gay, Introduction to Contemporary Civilization in the West (New York: Columbia University Press, 1954); from Margaret C. Jacob, The Enlightenment: A Brief History with Documents (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001), 203.

If you can't put your finger on why that jumped out at me so, I direct you to Dorothy and Utena's conversation way back in S1M3 A Rose for the New Year:

        "What are you afraid of?"
"Nothing," Dorothy said, but there was a very faint quiver in
her voice, and she no longer followed the denial with a flat dismissal
of the whole concept of fear.
"Bullshit," Utena snapped, too annoyed to moderate her
language any longer. "You're... " Realization dawned on her face.
"Of course. How could I not see it... I've faced the same fear
myself. You're afraid to grow up."
Dorothy looked puzzled and slightly indignant. "I have no
growth cycle."
"Don't be semantic," Utena told her. "It's all coming clear
to me now." She paced away, turned back. "I had to make the same
choice myself, not so long ago. Do I follow the easy path, be a good
little girl, do as I'm told, and live the life another has mapped out
for me? Or do I stand on my own feet, fight for my own rights, draw
my own map and then pick my own road on it? I understand the second
choice is a scary one. It's a hell of a big job to do all that. So
much easier just to take the ready-made alternative being offered, and
God help me, I considered it, for a second. I suppose it wouldn't
even have been such a bad life. Privileged, comfortable, protected.
I'd never have wanted for anything... except freedom.
"Freedom is the right of all sentient beings. You know who
said that, R. Dorothy Wayneright? A -robot- said that. One of the
greatest leaders of your reality, or so I've read. But rights have to
be sacrificed for. In order to claim them, you have to give something
up - the security of confinement. And you have it so much easier than
I did, Dorothy. I had to fight my way out of the cage past all the
obstacles a determined opponent could throw at me. You've got Corwin
standing outside the open door, beckoning you out, -begging- you to
become your own person."
"And then what?" Dorothy inquired.

Like I say, I'm sure it's only going to diminish my cred to admit that I got all Kantian on that action inadvertently, but there it is. (Part of the referential backdrop of Utena's source material, presumably, but we've already established that I could never be arsed to sort the wheat from the chaff there consciously. :)

--G.
-><-
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


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