22 September, 2020

The Trouble With Explanation

It forces the author to impose his own reading of his work on the reader, depriving him of the aura of mystery around its origins

Illustration by Sorit
The Trouble With Explanation
We live in the age of explanation and yet we understand each other less well every day. Open a newspaper, turn on the broadcast news, and an avalanche of explainers buries you under verbiage, telling you how to think about what you know. Science explains seven things a minute while religion claims to have explained everything already, anyway. The day passes to the sound of the powerful explaining away their mistakes, distortions and lies. "Reality instructors", to use Saul Bellow's term, are all around; reality instruction may be the biggest growth industry of our time. The bookstores are filled with non-fiction because we are losing faith in our dreams and believe that only the facts can tell the truth, but the most popular books of all are still fictions filled with the purest drivel. In our private lives we pay fortunes to sit in rooms with wiser men and women, seeking explanations for our weaknesses, our inner turbulence, our grief. We pay...


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