The Temptation of Innocence: Living in the Age of Entitlement

The Temptation of Innocence: Living in the Age of Entitlement

The Temptation of Innocence: Living in the Age of Entitlement

The Temptation of Innocence: Living in the Age of Entitlement

Synopsis

A book against depression, existential angst, cry-babies and whining victims, The Temptation of Innnocence was awarded the prestigious Le Grand Prix de l'Acadmie Franaise and the Medici Prize for Essays. The author, acclaimed French essayist and novelist Pascal Bruckner, also received the Renaudot Prize in 1997. (Philosophy)

Excerpt

“If I could have chosen not to be born, I certainly
would not have accepted existence under such ri
diculous conditions.”

Dostoyevsky, The Idiot.

The individual forms the backbone of modernity, in Europe, and like modernity it is born in perplexity. Stepping out of the Middle Ages, where social order took precedence over private individuals, he arrived at the dawn of the Modern Era to see the private person gradually winning out over any form of collective organization. Buoyed by the Christian notion of personal salvation, ennobled by the Cartesian rupture — which assigned to the cogito alone the exercise of knowledge and reflection — the individual is a recent product of our societies; he arrived on the scene only between the Renaissance and the French Revolution. Following Tocqueville, we generally celebrate the individual as the result of liberation from two forces: tradition and authority. He rejects the first in the name of freedom and the second in the name of egalitarianism, the basis of democracy. Refusing to allow his behavior to be dictated by an external law, he supposedly strives to leave behind the mental slavery that used to bind human existence to the past, to the community or to a transcendent figure (God, the . . .

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