Friday, August 31, 2018

Hybridity

The other day, Fredi asked me what I believe in. I guess she did not primarily mean in a religious sense but I still got somewhat taken back by her question. In the end, I think I came up with "fluidity" which is perhaps not the best answer. After all, as much as I want a world of plurality that transgresses and disrupts cultural boundaries, I also think that some measure of institutional continuity is essential. While this probably makes me sound like a true Hobbesian, there has to be a Starfleet, an authority that underwrites society’s capacity to exercise freedom. At the same time, I really want the future to be a lot like Michael Burnham (seen below). Maybe I should apologize to those unfamiliar with StarTrek but it is about imagining a world where people are not reduced to consumers or confined by solitary identities but are actively shaping the future of humanity as one common post-racial civilization.
Another way of knowing what one believes in, is to better understand what one does not believe in. In such an effort of negative theology, I stumbled upon Haim Hazan’s “Against Hybridity” in the university library. Hazan is a professor in sociology in Tel Aviv who makes a powerful moral case for a downwinger worldview oriented towards deep old age. Reading his book, I am again overwhelmed by how contradictory emancipation always is, that its benefits and costs are never equally distributed (in particular along gender lines but also temporally across generations).

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