Norbert Elias on Community

"[I]t is no doubt still unbearable for many people to imagine that the burden of deciding which goals humanity should pursue, which plans and actions have or have not meaning for human beings, falls on themselves.  They constantly seek someone to take this burden from them, someone who prescribes rules by which they should live and sets goals that make their lives worth living.  What they expect is a pre-ordained meaning coming from outside; what is possible is a meaning created for themselves and ultimately by human beings together, which gives their life its direction."

[from an October 1983 speech: ‘Ageing and Dying: Some Sociological Problems’]. 

Intermittent blogging continues while I socialize among my glittering circle of intelligent, good-looking friends. 

3 thoughts on “Norbert Elias on Community

  1. Reminds me strongly of Erich Fromm’s “Escape from Freedom” and I wonder, since both were Jews who had fled from the Nazis, if Elias and Fromm had engaged in cross-fertilizing discussions about the consequences of not bearing the burden of personal choice. For Fromm the escape from freedom ended in psychological and sociological pathology, and for Elias?

    I would be grateful if someone could point me to a posting of Elias’s 1983 speech on the Net.


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