Our Desire for Innocence

“Reflection requires that the plain opposition of positive and negative be left behind. Thinking is not content with the abstraction of mutual exclusivities, but struggles to conceive of a structured wholeness nuanced enough to contain what appeared to be contradictories.”

– Rowan Williams, quoted in Giles Fraser’s foreword to Andrew Shanks’ Against Innocence

” . . . the sort of peace negotiation suggested by Rose and Shanks has a definite strategy: it attempts to dismantle our desire for innocence.”

Most useful in this context is Fraser’s elucidation of Williams’ definition of innocence as “longing to be utterly sure of our rightness”, which is quite brilliant.

[Gillian] Rose’s work is an encouragement to pay attention to the philosophical condition of human fallenness. Human beings are haunted by complexity, compromised by mixed motives, and debased by threads of complicity with cruelty and untruthfulness. We constantly seek to represent ourselves with various fictions of innocence . . .”

– Giles Fraser’s foreword to Andrew Shanks’ Against Innocence

2 thoughts on “Our Desire for Innocence

  1. Very interesting, thought provoking post. The statement “We constantly seek to represent ourselves with various fictions of innocence . . .” reminds me of the Barthes’ post I just wrote and the comments I received about it. We oftentimes oversimplify complex human emotions in an attempt to retain our innocence.

    • Rose might argue, and I’d tend to agree, that attempting to retain our innocence is why issues of importance are rarely resolved. We end up in modes of ‘us’ and ‘them’ rather than being driven to find a peaceable middle ground. Peace is more important than truth.

Post a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s