Frankness

The exposure of ideas and opinions, formerly forbidden by the ethics and values of society, which can be expected to erupt in the disorderly conditions that will follow the climacteric. Under the surface in the well-behaved citizen, there is a second nature, to whom outrageous thoughts and opinions occur, but which the person has no trouble in censoring and keeping in check. In deeply destabilised conditions, however, that second nature tends to break out; the decency-censor is ignored; the person’s second nature becomes, simply, her nature.

The shock of a new frankness has been experienced before—for example, at the time of the Renaissance, when changing expectations were forced into even more violent change by recurring outbreaks of the plague. Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron explores this disorder with astonishment. The conversations described in it (he explains) do not take place in church, nor in schools of philosophy, but in the whorehouse. In fact, the times are so out of joint that . . .

. . . judges have deserted the judgment-seat, the laws are silent, and ample license to preserve his life as best he may is accorded to each and all. . . . If so one might save one’s life, the most sedate might without disgrace walk abroad wearing his breeches on his head.F38

 

Related entries:

Carnival, Fortitude, Manners.

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David Fleming
Dr David Fleming (2 January 1940 – 29 November 2010) was a cultural historian and economist, based in London, England. He was among the first to reveal the possibility of peak oil's approach and invented the influential TEQs scheme, designed to address this and climate change. He was also a pioneer of post-growth economics, and a significant figure in the development of the UK Green Party, the Transition Towns movement and the New Economics Foundation, as well as a Chairman of the Soil Association. His wide-ranging independent analysis culminated in two critically acclaimed books, 'Lean Logic' and 'Surviving the Future', published posthumously in 2016. These in turn inspired the 2020 launches of both BAFTA-winning director Peter Armstrong's feature film about Fleming's perspective and legacy - 'The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?' - and Sterling College's unique 'Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time' online courses. For more information on all of the above, including Lean Logic, click the little globe below!

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