Science fiction promotes the idea of a superior or “higher” intelligence that will impose order on human affairs and messy emotions and, thereby, end childhood–that is, history…We live in a culture in which intelligence is denied relevance altogether, in a search for radical innocence, or is defended as an instrument of authority and repression. In my view, the only intelligence worth defending is critical, dialectical, skeptical, desimplifying….An intelligence which aims at the definitive resolution (that is, suppression) of conflict…is not my normative idea of intelligence. Not surprisingly, contempt for intelligence goes with the contempt for history. And history is, yes, tragic. But I’m not able to support any idea of intelligence which aims at bringing history to an end–substituting for the tragedy that makes civilization at least possible the nightmare of the Good Dream of eternal barbarism. — Susan Sontag


One thought on “Contempt for intelligence

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