THE NEW NONSENSE: The End of the Rational Consensus by Charles Fair

THE NEW NONSENSE: The End of the Rational Consensus

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Culture has been indulged no short time now with Consciousness IIIs and Medium-Messages and Primal Screams and UFOs and ESP and Mind Control, and more. It is about time a writer -- and one accessible to the general public -- now spoke up to praise sensibility, intellect, reason. Fair does just this, and if for no other reason his book is noteworthy. Along the way he points out the implicit ironies, the inconsistencies that characterize the theories of those ""Terrible Simplifiers"" (""the Rage to Live. . .becomes a Rage to Believe""), all of which would be comic were they not so threatening by way of enfeeblement -- and eventually, Fair believes, we may well become so much muddleheaded totalitarian fodder. One might take issue with the simplifications -- that revolutions arise by way of a flight from the void once religious faith collapses, an escape into frenzy, and thence the ""New Nonsense"" of Primal Screams, Hari-Krishna chants, etc. Indeed, there is an interesting chapter which draws parallels between the activities of Mesmer in revolutionary France and the orgone conceptions of the late Wilhelm Reich. Reason, to Fair, eclipses faith (as in The Enlightenment) and we then shrink from that reason -- rendering the Id passive. The historiography here is too linear -- revolutions arise too from positive emotions like hope -- but we are today so in need of a readable and heartfelt plea for rational Renaissance men that the faults may be overlooked.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1974
Publisher: Simon & Schuster