Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Multi-Perspectival Man: Historical Background

Originally posted on August 28, 2011

2nd episode: Multi-Perspectival-Man didn’t come crashing out of the sky in a rocket ship. He emerged naturally in his human form as just this guy, a product of cultural evolution. But, wait! What about his ancestry, and the world in which they lived?

I mentioned earlier that there’s a lot to distract one nowadays. Yes. There’s not just a lot to pay attention to, but more, there’s a lot to think about! I mean, in the olden days (early 20th century) men had to pay attention to a lot of things—which made their jobs so challenging. It was like juggling—a man had to keep balanced the fifty-four aspects of his job, twenty-three political issues, twelve issues of his wife, home, and children, three issues relevant to the servants, and forty-two other questions that included train schedules, weather, and so forth. There was no time to deal with the petty preferences of women—who were only better than children in some ways—and children, who could be discounted—much less servants, common workers, poor people and off the charts, beyond the pale (literally) were those with darker skins who lived in the heart of darkness in foreign countries where they didn’t even know how to speak English!

So empathy back then in the early 20th century was a non-category. Who had time? It was overwhelmingly complicated just to shoulder the father-of-the-family and the white-man’s-burden role. There was no room for noticing any surges of uncertainty or vulnerability or feelings—those were just for women and children and had to be repressed! Not that we knew what that word was, either.

Gradually the complications doubled and tripled and then expanded ten-fold and then a hundred-fold. The spring of knowledge became a trickle (it leaks!), a creek, a stream, a river—but we can still navigate!—a flood (help!), a delta (which way?), a gulf, an ocean, a tsunami! These last five items describe the last fifty years, a shift of the curvature of cultural acceleration from a thirty to a sixty degree angle. It’s an exponential curve sloping upward—the proper symbol of our shift from modernity into the post-modern era.

But in the early-mid 20th century, the olden days, there was truth (or so it seemed), and the truth was accessible through the proper perspective. The choice of perspective was also a matter of finding the right one—all the others being wrong,  illusory, untrue. There was no world-view or perspective or point of view in the olden days. There was just right and wrong, clear-cut, obvious to any right-thinking, clear-minded, enlightened man. (No people of non-male gender need apply.)     End of chapter 2. Next item later.)

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