To our eyes, the Victorians seem very inconsistent in terms of their attitudes toward children. Child-worshippers who waxed rhapsodic about the perfect purity of children simultaneously eroticized them. Even as sentimentality about childhood reached new heights, the notion that all children are savages likewise gained widespread support; many Victorians accepted the “Law of Recapitulation,” which stipulated that as a child develops, he or she repeats the stages of development of the human race. This belief in “the savagery of all children and the childishness of all savages” served a justification for subjecting children to harsh discipline, and natives of other countries to the rule of the expanding British Empire (Cunningham 98).
In his newest film, Werner Herzog is again asking existential questions -- this time, about the internet. In “Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World,” released in theaters on Friday, Herzog analyzes this ever-expanding fortress of information, and how it promises possibilities of both progress and catastrophe. Jeffrey Brown speaks with Herzog about his latest inquiry into human nature.
In Image-Nation 21 (territory), he refers to the ritual of death and remembrance, suggesting the poet’s role of expanding the cosmos: “... he did not search / out death or courage, did not / found something, a country, / or end it, but made it endless...” The ideas of expansion and inclusion were key themes for Blaser, who believed each of our individual worlds was worthy of being part of the greater cosmos.
Before I learned about Duke, I had made up my mind to study economics and to ultimately pursue a career in international business. I had come to see this path as the best combination for fulfilling both my aspirations towards knowledge and my pragmatic goals of a future livelihood. China, my planned area of focus, is an expanding market with a dearth of skilled business professionals. But I had misgivings because I wanted a school with a strong focus on the humanities as well.
Yes, those with bad or erratic judgment will make bad or erratic choices. But it’s through the smaller-scale institutions of our daily lives that we can most effectively check the consequences of such choices. The test is whether the gap between what we preach and what we practice shrinks or expands for the nation as a whole. Our job will be to hold those in power to account for that result, including the future of the seventy per cent—the left out and the left behind. Decency, reason, and compassion require no less.