Om vårt behov av anti-strukturer

The Fight Between Carnival and Lent – Peter Bruegel

”All codes need to be countervailed, sometimes even swamped in their negation, on pain of rigidity, enervation, the atrophy of social cohesion, blindness, perhaps ultimately self-destruction. Both the tension between temporal and spiritual, and the existence of carnival and other rites of reversal, show that this sense used to be very alive in Latin Christendom. What has happened to it today?”


”I draw attention to it here, because I think that it played a very important role in the rise of secularity 1. That is, it was the eclipse of this sense of necessary complementarity, of the need for anti-structure, which preceded and helped to bring about the secularization of public space. The idea that a code need leave no space for the principle that contradicts it, that there need be no limit to its enforcement, which is the spirit of totalitarianism, is not just one of the consequences of the eclipse of anti-structure in modernity. That is certainly true. But it is also the case that the temptation to put into effect a code which brooks no limit came first. Yielding to this temptation is what helped bring modern secularity, in all its senses, into being.”


”Certainly one consequence of the eclipse of anti-structure was this propensity to believe that the perfect code wouldn’t need to be limited, that one could and should enforce it without restriction. This has been one of the driving ideas behind the various totalitarian movements and régimes of our time. Society had to be totally made over, and none of the traditional restraints on action should be allowed to hamper this enterprise. In a less dramatic way, it encourages the tunnel vision with which the various “speech codes” of political correctness are applied on certain campuses, and lends the positive ring to such slogans as “zero tolerance”.”

Charles Taylor, A Secular Age (2007), s.50-51