A witness by John WATERS, Irish Times columnist, on his life-journey, with remarks by Maurizio MANISCALCO, president of New York Encounter.
Following are excerpts from a column that John Waters wrote in the Irish Times on July 6, 2012.
“At the heart of both the capitalist system and the libertarianism which nowadays underlies most conventional notions of social progress lies a misunderstanding of human freedom. With the capitalist the misunderstanding is self-interestedly deliberate; with the 1960s revolutionary it is hypocritical. The 1960s placed at the centre of western culture the idea that the shortest path to satisfaction was along a straight line between instinctual desire and its intuited target. Freedom was the enjoyment of what came naturally and the handbook suggested that this came without consequences once you shook off the guilt imposed by grey-bearded naysayers from whose grasp society and its instruments had been snatched. They missed that these apparently imposed rules and strictures were the encoded wisdom of human trial and error through the ages. The “rules” emanated from within the human person, defining both the limits of human searching for satisfaction and proposing safeguards against potential encroachment on or from others. The post-1960s generations have not been honest about their experience of freedom. Privately – individually – many have found their pursuit of freedom did not deliver the satisfactions they craved but they have invested too much of themselves in the project to admit this.
But the crux of the matter is not greed, selfishness or decadence. The common denominator is a cultural phenomenon of desire misunderstood – a failure to understand that human longing cannot be met by any of the obvious things it fixes upon. This problem cannot be addressed by more rules or the renewal of morals but only by a reopening of the question: what does mankind actually want?”