On dividing lines

Homogenizing processes may be relentlessly at work, while in Greece there may be a tendency to scorn politics and ideology (though contemptuous rejection of ideology is an ideology in itself). Still, people are not equal, and never will be. The human populace continues to be divided into classes, ideological streams, religions, parties, and factions, even within the same party. Without the rivalries these divisions inevitably provoke, history would probably freeze up altogether. Utopias remain in the imagination; there seems no way to actualize them so we can enjoy their fruits. Human divisions cannot be removed simply through well-meaning or expedient declarations, like those concerning the «return to democracy.» Whatever the intentions of the government of the day, its policies will always spark opposition and reaction as it slices up society into us versus them, and supports values and models that cannot be accepted by all. Dividing lines are not static; they are not like international borders that can be changed by agreements between states. Rather, they reflect social history, the clash of ideas, and the furious conflict of material interests. They may shift in content, and we ourselves may change our position in relation to them; but their existence is almost ordained by law, no matter how such «absolute» words alarm us. Besides, if such societal divisions did not exist, politicians and parties would scarcely be needed and we could make do with «consensus managers.» Dividing lines are by-products of history, but they also create history. So there is no reason for us to fear them. And there is no reason for us to believe that we can see past them when they have already determined the direction in which we look.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.