The New Year: Culture, Assumptions and Equality

A quote from one of my favorite books…

What is “bad faith” when it comes to equality?  “…it is only necessary to act in the customary, ordinary, usual, even polite manner. Nonetheless, I doubt that any of us who does so is totally without the knowledge that something is wrong.

To slide into decisions without allowing oneself to realize that one is making any; to feel dimly that one is enjoying advantages without trying to become clearly aware of what those advantages are (and who hasn’t got them); to accept mystifications because they’re customary and comfortable; cooking one’s mental books to congratulate oneself on traditional behavior as if it were actively moral behavior; to know that one doesn’t know; to prefer not to know; to defend one’s status as already knowing with half-sincere, half-selfish passion as “objectivity” –

This great, fuzzy area of human ingenuity is what Jean Paul Sartre calls “bad faith.” When spelled out the techniques use to maintain bad faith look morally atrocious and appallingly silly. That is because they are morally atrocious and appallingly silly. But this only shows when one spells them out, i.e., becomes aware of them. Hence this one effort among many to do just that.”

Russ, J. (1984) How to Suppress Women’s Writing, London: The Women’s Press.

Let’s make 2010 a year where we make less assumptions, take more personal inventory, and create opportunities for equality for all of us!

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