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Extra info for Knowledge and Censorship
VA: What does the adjective “inalienable” suggest when appended to the concept of right? IS: It is a term that comes from English Common Law. It announces that fundamental rights cannot be transferred or surrendered. No matter what a person does or says, if he’s handicapped, if his parents were criminals, the same rights that apply to everybody apply to him as well. KNOWLEDGE 39 Again, I return to the concept of democracy. It’s a most fragile system of social organization because it is based on a tacit contract: all men are created equal.
Nor do I need to love you or what you represent. My only requirement—and yours too—is rather minimal: to tolerate one another. ” VA: You use the OED as if it were the Bible. Or perhaps the Magna Carta. IS: Its roots are similar. Isn’t the dictionary a compendium of lore, organized alphabetically, whose authority permeates every aspect of society? Obviously, nobody is condemned to death using the OED as a code of law. But it certainly is a code of knowledge. ” IS: Except that every generation builds on it.
Amén. 50 Knowledge and Censorship VA: How are dreams instruments of knowledge? IS: Samuel Taylor Coleridge said in 1803: “God forbid that my enemy should ever have the nights and the sleep that I have had, night after night . . ” In other words, a person without dreams is like a tree without water. Through these sequences, we’re able to make sense of the chaos that surrounds us. VA: Yet dreams are chaotic . . IS: Dreams have their own grammar, incomprehensible to the rational self. We don’t process the world through sleep in the same way we do through rational thought.