People tend to like simplicity. In many instances, not possessing sufficient expertise on matters, they require it. They require easily manageable packages of knowledge, and these packages become taken for granted stocks of ‘common sense’ knowledge that enable them to cope, however faulty or misrepresented that ‘knowledge’ may be. Politicians and the media also recognise people’s need for simplicity. And here lies the problem, particularly in an increasingly complex and confusing world.
And that is exactly what is required: banality and sneering that finds its ultimate expression in cynicism, apathy and acceptance of and adherence to the status quo. Given the major issues affecting us, ranging from nuclear war to ecological meltdown, what we really require is sweeping social and economic reforms and great ideas. But have the great movements and ideas of yesteryear that could provide inspiration for today’s causes been reduced to mediocre banality?