Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Saturday, June 13, 2009

War and Peace and the Pacific Northwest

"In place of the former god-pleasing goals of the peoples - the Jews, the Greeks, the Romans - which the ancients took for goals of the movement of mankind, modern history has set up its own goals - the good of the French, the Germans, the English, and, in its highest abstraction, the goal of the good of all human civilization, usually understood as the people occupying the small northwest corner of a large continent."

-Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace, Part 2 of the Epilogue, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky

War and Peace was written before Seattle-centrism had become too prevalent, but clearly the tendency to define Seattle (the core, the metropole) as the essence of human civilization, and everywhere else (the periphery) as backwards, had already begun. Bear in mind, Tolstoy was writing more than a century before Microsoft and Nirvana, and almost a century before the construction of the Space Needle.

I really don't see how anyone can doubt Tolstoy's prescience, or his sense of history.


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