This Is the Way the World Ends

Confucius thought that social unrest could stem from dissociation between language and reality. A “rectification of names” was called for when words no longer related to their material referents. But how do you rectify emotions or conscience? How do you re-sensitize a world gone numb?

Lately, I’ve come across a little interjection of indifference—“meh”—that tersely appraises the emotional lethargy of our age. There’s a certain economy to the remark, a complete confluence of sound, syllable, and even appearance that expresses the languor of a soul that won’t be stirred by what’s posited for its consideration. [Read more...]


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