ON THE HEART’S INDIGNATION, AND THAT OF REASON. A WORLD APART!
Written by Romain Guérin
Translated by Sylvain Saboua
The current political phraseology opposes reason and heart. The Left pretend that they govern by the heart; the Right says that the latter doesn’t have a monopoly on the heart, etc.
For them, reason is perceived as a cold utilitarian instrument, incapable of moral judgments, whereas the heart is the source of all (local and universal) ethics, and potentially inexhaustible human feelings. A few examples are sufficient to understand that there is a confusion of concepts, and that this kind of discourse doesn’t go beyond the level of slogans for advertisements.
Your dead dog’s carcass lies right before your very eyes. Your heart urges you to cry, while your reason moderates the event. In front of the oft morbid news broadcasts, your heart is simply absent and even undergoes the criticism of reason which is twice indignant, by the bloody event and the silence of your heart.
This shows that the range of sincere affliction that is the heart’s prerogative, is reduced to human size in matters, and simply concerns those beings known to us, thus the intensity of the affliction increases in proportion to the degree of intimacy that one has with the suffering of a person. However, the range of affected affliction is unlimited and extends beyond mankind, reason being in essence a faculty of generalization. Pretending that you have a lump in the throat while saying -as many politicians do, in the name of the heart- that one is indignant about the misery in Africa, is nothing short of a lie: we are coldly indignant in the name of reason.
The heart, while it is the only source of sincere feeling, is deeply unjust, self-centered and indifferent to most human dramas. We weep what we see as rare and irreplaceable. Period.
If as we have shown, reason, which although harsh and cold, has a capacity for moral judgment (the life of a man is worth the life of another man; it is on the other hand, incapable of producing moral sentiments: friendship, fraternity, compassion, pity, etc. which alone are vectors of morality in action, and therefore guarantors of the values of civilization.
Thus it is the radiance of the heart that ought to be widened at a maximum, and that is precisely what the idea of nation (after the family, the close circle, the acquaintances, the habitants of the same city or region) attempts to realize.
“Internationalism is a protestation against national egoism, not to the benefit of a spiritual passion, but of another egoism, another terrestrial passion; it is the movement of a category of men – laborers, bankers, entrepreneurs – which unites beyond borders in the name of its practical and particular interests, and only raises against the spirit of the nation because it hinders it in the satisfaction of its interests. For such movements, national passion seems an idealistic and disinterested movement.” – Julien Benda
Nobody really cries actual tears because of the raped Chinese women, nor of the Mexican homeless or the Swedish disabled people, without mentioning the millions massacred by hunger and mutilated by war who die each year. However, the hexagonal misery still seems to touch the heart of the French. It is of value to note that the French have been a people who are familiar with a great deal of personal suffering throughout history, and therefore often project by extension their sympathies as a mode of symbolic virtue signaling, familiarity by association of sufferance.
Terrorism (or propaganda), through its mise-en-scene, the nature of its victims and its organized recollection, is nothing but an attempt at artificial widening to often confidential and dubious ends, of the heart’s radiance to wider and greater realities.