The Impossibility of the Good
umair haque

A Hermeneutic of the Human Condition

Thank you for your article Umair, it’s eloquent and puts its finger on the growing disparity between the perception of the ‘us’ and ‘them’. It chimes with the theme of my own writing, but is also, in some ways the total opposite. As you intimate, for a centrist moderate, it is increasingly difficult to find ways to negotiate between the extreme right and the extreme left. It is hard to rationalise the actions of the president, but sometimes just as hard, at times, to stand with the liberal agenda when it is expressing a baseless ideology. It often feels like there are no tools in place by which to navigate between these extremes and find a common unity.

This said, it is interesting that you referenced Hannah Arendt, Arendt had a great friend and sometime opponent, the philosopher Paul Ricoeur. Ricoeur, a French Philosopher spent much of his career focused on the sort of impossible duality that we see before us now. He spent many years practising a philosophy which sort to negotiate between the poles of two extremes. An activist himself Ricoeur would often apply this mediatory approach to situations in both Philosophy and Politics, and though a socialist, he was able sometimes to find a route between the extremes. Ricoeur’s later works on memory and justice, arguably provide some of the greatest tools for overcoming these threatening dualities.

My point is this, whilst the picture may seem bleak, there are tools which exist to combat and unify. It is perhaps to these that we must turn, in the face of this broadening divide.

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