What Is Distinctive About the 2010s?

Darwin, Marx and Freud were responsible for much of the Zeitgeist of 1919, I claim.

1919: Superfluities Of Meaning

I take it that a key feature of the three -isms I considered is that they offer explanations where explanations previously were lacking. Marx argued history wasn’t just one damn thing after another, but an ordered working out of class struggle. And Freudianism and Darwinism are the same, if in a sense almost mirror images. For Freud, even seemingly purposeless, marginal, accidental behaviour could be explained as, in a sense, intentional, while for Darwin, puzzlingly seemingly purposeful and adapted behaviour and organisms could be explained without positing some intentional agent responsible for them. In each case, we get explanations, and with them, the chance to control things. To resolve our mental sufferings by attending to dreams; to resolve socio-economic inequality by waiting until the capitalists dig their own graves (I’m not sure if there’s a neat ‘to resolve etc’ thing to say about Darwinism, so I won’t reach for one).

2019: Unintelligibility

And what about today? I propose to try to answer this question by focusing on the domains of the three theories, somewhat roughly construed, and seeing how things have developed. Consider first the mind, minded behaviour, and mental pathology. How do we think of them today?



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