Deep thought

“. . . whenever we happen to be surrounded by either a natural environment or a social environment of which we know so little that we cannot predict what will happen, then we all become anxious and terrified.  This is because if there is no possibility of our predicting what will happen in our environment – for example, how people will behave – then there is no possibility of reacting rationally.  Whether the environment in question is a natural or a social one is more or less irrelevant. [. . .]

“It is here that the part played by tradition in our lives becomes understandable.  We should be anxious, terrified, and frustrated, and we could not live in the social world, did it not contain a considerable amount of order, a great number of regularities to which we can adjust ourselves.  The mere existence of these regularities is perhaps more important than their peculiar merits or demerits.  They are needed as regularities, and therefore handed on as traditions, whether or not they are in other respects rational or necessary or good or beautiful or what you will.  There is a need for tradition in social life.”

Karl Poper, “Toward a Rational Theory of Tradition



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