Few bad apples

One is often struck by the insensitivity that people display toward one another. In many situations we are faced with people who somehow never live up to the common sense expectations of how one should minimally appropriate the rules of civility in that particular situation so as not to be considered as not belonging to or being part of the situation. Not being part of the situation means not being taken seriously by those who belong to the situation, that is, by those who have internalized the rules of conduct in a situation, or have adapted to the normative expectations of the group in a situation. So failing to show an appropriate adaption to the situation may lead the other people who belong to that situation interpret your attitude as one of lack of sensitivity or understanding or, and this is the worst, you may be perceived to re-present a certain danger to the normal and successful closure of the situation as a whole. You may be perceived as the inherent obstacle which keeps the rift open, something which prevent the impossible total closure of society, something which stands for the symptom of what is wrong with a particular situation…

Considering that those who are well attuned to the situation find it extremely disturbing that you are a reminder of what is wrong with and in the situation, you may come out to stand not only for what is wrong with the situation but for being responsible for what is wrong in the situation. In other words,  you stand in as a responsible agent for the wrongness of the situation. The most often proposed and at the same time the most unimaginative solution is that the you as a stand in for the problem must be eliminated so that the situation can resume its course without hindrance or obstacles. The illusion is that those well-attuned to the situation think that it is possible to achieve a harmonious situation, if we eliminate those few bad apples in its midst. The challenge, however, is to find way to accept the constitutive rift of the situation, that it never coincides with itself, and that what is perceived as an external  obstacle is internal condition which makes the existence of the situation possible. That is to say, those few bad apples are as necessary for the existence of certain situation as is the existence of good apples. How so? Well, because only in that way can those who are well-attuned be reminded that their adaption is purely contingent factor, that there is no necessity attached to such an adaption, that the element of decision, arbitrariness and political nature of ontological perceptions which constitute our horizon of being ultimately cannot be considered natural or god-given. Those few bad apples then are as important as the good apples, because they remind the good apples that they may go bad as well….

About albphilosopher

Sead Zimeri has studied Philosophy, Islamic Philosophy and Religion, International Politics and Psychoanalysis. He is currently the project coordinator of "Islam and the Liberal Society" at the Liberalt Laboratorium (LibLab) thin tank in Oslo, Norway. http://www.liblab.no
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