Aesthetics, Pathos of Distance

If the southern Americans want to teach their children creation as part of a public school curriculum, then let them. I say this and have reflected on the revulsion surrounding this idea—this reaction is a curiosity for me.

Consider urban decay: while I enjoy subjecting myself to the ruins of Michigan Central Station, I cannot help but hear the voice of another within myself, “What a monument of failure!” and that is to see the ruins as a pitiful case. However, had I been looking at the ruins of Persepolis, for example, would this voice have ever struck me? Probably not. I cannot imagine another saying, “What a monument of failure!”—to that. Rather I think most would consider Persepolis a testament to a lost time and place of achievement.

I would guess that if another made Michigan Central Station into a pitiful case, then it must be because he understands it more, it offends him more—yet, because Persepolis is so distant, anyone could appreciate its value.

Compare this with the psychology of a pathos of distance. See Walter Kaufmann’s translation of Friedrich Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, Part Nine, section 257, page 201. Also compare to the uncanny.

I return to an old thought here: regarding democracy. The United States would be better off to be divided. The governance covers too much to allow for liberty.

Again, if the southern Americans want to teach their children creation in school, then let them. Perhaps you aren’t as near them as you believe. And you don’t have to consider an alternative way of life an offense to your life.