Saturday, December 6, 2008

Good, Just, Beautiful

Good, just, and beautiful are magic words but are not powerful in terms of warding off conflict:
What is good for me is not necessarily good for you. Indeed, if my good and your good involve the possession of an identical object—a person we both love, an honor we both covet—the two goods cannot be identical. This is the very structure of mimetic rivalry. We will not be able to avert conflict merely by pronouncing some magic word ("good," "just," or "beautiful") as we might the name of a god in a rite.
—Eric Lawrence Gans, Signs of Paradox, 1997

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