12 September 2009

The human frame

This carefully balanced appreciation of the complexities of social reality -- the idea that "human fraternity is disastrous as a political program but indispensable as a guiding sign" -- already places Kołakowski at a tangent to most of the intellectuals of his generation. In East and West alike, the more common tendency was to oscillate between excessive confidence in the infinite possibilities of human improvement and callow dismissal of the very notion of progress. Kołakowski sat athwart this characteristic twentieth-century chasm. Human fraternity, in his thinking, remained "a regulative, rather than a constitutive idea.
-- from a remembrance of Leszek Kołakowski by Tony Judt.

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