It’s funny. Back at the LSE, where Popper taught and where I lived in an apartment named after him, when I wondered about the anthropological appropriateness of human coordination, I concentrated mostly on the problems arising from human interest seeking with guile given bounded human rationality. I never even wondered what else could challenge an open society.

Now, looking at the recent electoral successes of the populist right in some European countries, the new confused protests against „the system“ like Pegida in Dresden, and – as in the case of the young woman of the Polish nationalists portrayed in the Guardian’s video below – the intense desire of *inherent belonging*, I’m wondering more and more about the anthropological appropriateness of the more and more abstract societies that we live in – that our way of life technologically requires. Dissociation. What a philsophical chameleon. How can we combine these two layers in a way that takes both abstract universalism and the desire for inherent belonging seriously? Particularly when it’s a year without a Football Championship?

It’s a truly imperfect analogy, but somehow this reminds me of the way the Israeli sociologist Eva Illouz considers BDSM/50 Shades of Grey as a self-help movement trying to come to terms with the immensely conflicting modern individual meta narratives of autonomy and love. Ourselves dissociating from ourselves, in a way. Of course, putting this conflict on a stage doesn’t reconcile it – autonomy necessarily wins the real world. That’s how we rationally want it, even though we can’t seem to handle it.

So, in a way, the real question for us, in this dilemma, becomes: Knowing that, how can we let ourselves believe we still believe in love? And, in turn: Can we find a way to not feel dissociated in an abstract society, knowing that we are, and that we choose to be?

Are we able of believing that conscious lie? Maybe. After all, isn’t lying to ourselves how the existentialists got over the most fundamental dissociation? We *must imagine* Sisyphus happy, don’t we?

Originally posted on my Facebook profile –
Image source: „PEGIDA DRESDEN DEMO 12 Jan 2015 115724078“ by Kalispera Dell – Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.