Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Rage of the Intellectuals

From Ha'aretz, this gushing and under-edited interview with historian David Ohana is very interesting. His new book The Rage of the Intellectuals is a critique of messianic thinking. One example he gives of such messianic thinking is David Ben-Gurion. The rage of the messianic is reflected, for example, in Ben-Gurion's denunciation of the state of Exile: "it must be utterly rejected." For Ohana, such absolutism is deadly.

"Egalitarian, absolute visions of redemption lead inevitably to the opposite," Ohana says... "There is an ineluctable law that brings you from paradise to hell." The just men of this Sodom, according to Ohana, are the intellectuals who were against messianism in its various forms, be it secular or religious. Camus is one example.
You can read more of Ohana here.

Previous posts on the perfidy of intellectuals: Chomsky, Hegemony or Survival, Swooning with rapture
Previous posts on Israel/Palestine: The paradoxes of Zionism, Optimism, Libertarians East of the Mediterranean Sea

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