Monday, December 8, 2014

How to be intellectually invisible : criticize the modern era's grand narratives --- without offering up one of your own

The Modern Era (1875-1965) was very tolerant of criticisms of its rules - as long as your criticism played by those same rules.

So individual Modern intellectuals might disagree profoundly with the content of your particular grand narrative but they still greatly admired the fact that you had one.

Dozens of major ideologies - isms of all sorts and shapes - poured forth in that age - each vigorously disagreeing with all others,  except for the Modern Era's one overarching grand narrative : that to make a credible critique of Modern grand narrative, one must have one as well.

It was not the time for guardedly measured criticisms : it was an age of Alpha Male ideologies and their Alpha Male critics : dream (and critique) big and bold --- or stay home.

Martin Henry Dawson differed profoundly with this world : perhaps most defiantly in denying the need for grand critiques against grand narratives.

As a result, he simply doesn't figure as an intellectual (by word and pen) critic of his era.

He was, instead, a critic by deed .

He carried on his efforts to secure life-saving penicillin for those young patients deemed by the Allied scientific cum medical establishment as lives unworthy of life-granting penicillin even at the cost of his own life.

But he succeeded in the end and his vision of penicillin-for-all, particularly during a total war in an era that denied the universality of all humanity, was to be profoundly influential in the post-Modern era.

Dawson did not destroy the Modern era - it did that mostly on its own.

But his Manhattan project (the wartime mass production and mass distribution of natural penicillin) sure helped speed it along ...

No comments:

Post a Comment