Love through the Ages

In his extreme youth Stoner had thought of love as an absolute state of being to which, if one were lucky, one might find access; in his maturity he had decided it was the heaven of a false religion, toward which one ought to gaze with an amused disbelief, a gently familiar contempt, and an embarrassed nostalgia. Now in his middle age he began to know that it was neither a state of grace nor an illusion; he saw it as a human act of becoming, a condition that was invented and modified moment by moment and day by day, by the will and the intelligence and the heart.

-Excerpt from Stoner by John Williams

Love through the Ages

Epistemic Closure’s Literary Potential

Julian Sanchez’s theory of “epistemic closure” occurring on the American right has attracted considerable attention on the intertubes. (See here, here, here, and even here.) The dangers of a having a political party completely detached from reality aside, I think this is a golden opportunity for some intrepid fiction writers to mine the current political climate for some real insights into human behavior and how we construct (or don’t construct) human experience. Reality is quickly outpacing fiction on the believable scale, and we have a group of people who are trying to willfully construct their own version of history, the economy, and current government policies. We should barter with chickens for health care! More seriously, the incoherence takes on various hues of irony in the historical context:

[Palin]’s been going around to Tea Party rallies, invoking the spirit of revolutionary Boston and castigating Obama for failing to exalt American power and punish our adversaries. She seems blissfully unaware that the imperial arrogance she’s preaching isn’t how the American founders behaved. It’s how the British behaved, and why they lost. Palin represents everything the original Tea Party was against.

The best we can hope for is future great reading from this nonsense.

Epistemic Closure’s Literary Potential