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Intervju: Theodore Dalrymple – Budite hrabri u potrazi za istinom, dobrotom i ljepotom

Anthony Malcolm Daniels (rođen 11. listopada 1949.), poznat i pod pseudonimom Theodore Dalrymple, engleski je kulturni kritičar, zatvorski liječnik i psihijatar. Radio je u brojnim subsaharskim afričkim zemljama, ali i istočnom Londonu. Prije umirovljenja 2005. godine radio je u Gradskoj bolnici u Birminghamu i engleskom Winson Green zatvoru u istom gradu. Najpoznatije knjige su mu: Life at the bottom i Our culture: What’s left of it? Za Hereticu odgovara na nekoliko pitanja vezanih uz trenutno stanje društva u kojem se nalazimo.

Postoji li način za zaustavljanje kulturne degradacije o kojoj često govorite? Mislite li da bi osobe poput, primjerice, Jacoba Reesa Mogga mogle pomoći u širenju pozitivnog utjecaja na mlade kada su u pitanju viši standardi (dress code, rječnik, maniri)?

Zadatak je vrlo težak. Netko poput gospodina Rees-Mogga imat će naravno obožavatelje, ali vjerojatno i više klevetnika, pa će stoga biti više ljudi koji se trude biti što manje slični njemu od onih koji ga oponašaju. Među ostalim čimbenicima protiv promjene u željenom smjeru je i činjenica da pametno odijevanje, govor u cijelim rečenicama itd., zahtijevaju puno veći napor od suprotnog. Ljudi sve više nisu voljni ni kuhati za sebe jer kuhanje zahtijeva napor i oduzima vrijeme koje bi se inače moglo potrošiti na zabavu, koja se smatra stvarnim životnim poslom. Stanovi se sada grade bez kuhinja, pod pretpostavkom da će ljudi jesti u restoranima ili naručivati hranu. Ovo nije kultura u kojoj će biti lako tražiti od ljudi da se potrude samo iz civilizacijskih razloga.

Stanovi se sada grade bez kuhinja, pod pretpostavkom da će ljudi jesti u restoranima ili naručivati hranu. Ovo nije kultura u kojoj će biti lako tražiti od ljudi da se potrude samo iz civilizacijskih razloga.

T. Dalrymple

Kako masovna imigracija utječe na ove probleme – što dugoročno možemo iz toga naučiti?

Imigracija nije jednoznačan fenomen, a imigrant nije samo imigrant. On ima i osobne i grupne karakteristike. Svakako je nerazumno stvarati geto od ljudi koji koji dolaze iz kulture s ekspanzionističkim uvjerenjem i koji se ne žele integrirati, ali ostaju odvojeni od ostatka društva. To je moguće u malom broju, ali ne i u velikom. Međutim, problem je prije u nama nego u njima. Nismo više dovoljno samopouzdani da bi zahtijevali prilagodbu nama, a ne našu prilagodbu njima.

S gledišta psihijatra, koji su ključni koraci u odgoju djece koje bismo trebali uzeti u obzir prilikom razvijanja osobina poput osobne odgovornosti? Kako naučiti naše mlade odrasle da ne krive druge / društvo za svoje postupke?

Mislim da je najvažnija sposobnost reći ‘ne’ i to ozbiljno misliti. Uvijek popustiti dječjim željama prije je lijeno, nego velikodušno, ali čini se da je to obrazac barem kod velikog broja ljudi. Roditelj koji djetetu daje 2 dolara ne voli svoje dijete dvostruko više od roditelja koji mu daje 1 dolar, ali čini se da se ljubav često kalkulira na takav način.

Spominjete samokontrolu kada govorite o ljudima koji zagađuju okoliš ili o serijskim ubojicama – vjerujete li da se ta osobina može promijeniti/poboljšati ili je zapisana u našim genima?

Nesumnjivo postoje neke genetske varijacije, ali ovo je samo mali dio varijacije. Možemo imati kulturu u kojoj je samoograničenje razvijeno i poželjno ili onu u kojoj to nije. Genetika nema puno (ali ipak ima malo) veze s time.

Niste religiozni, ali često branite ulogu religije u društvu. Što nam mogu ponuditi tradicionalna učenja – postoji li još uvijek potreba za njima u moderno doba?

U mnogočemu je religiozna perspektiva – čovjek kao palo stvorenje – puno realnija od toga da je čovjek rođen dobar te da može postati savršen. Potonje gledište dovodi do apsurdnih očekivanja koja se ne mogu ispuniti.

O političkoj korektnosti danas se puno raspravlja. Vi ju često kritizirate. Koji po vama njen najveći negativni učinak i kako se protiv nje boriti bez da vas prozovu seksistom/rasistom itd?

Dva su glavna problema s političkom korektnošću. Prvi je što onemogućava razmišljanje i raspravu o teškim pitanjima, u kojima je moguće istinsko neslaganje. Još gore, prisiljava ljude da kažu ili barem da ne proturječe stvarima za koje znaju da su lažne – primjerice, da je transseksualna žena samo normalna žena. To je nasilje nad ljudskom osobnošću i uništava čestitost, a ljudima se lakše vlada. Podsjeća na komunističku propagandu.

Što biste rekli da je imalo najveći utjecaj na vas dok ste radili kao zatvorski liječnik – kada ste komunicirali s različitim vrstama kriminalaca, što ste naučili od njih ili njihovog ponašanja?

Misli da je najvažnija lekcija bila da su pojedinci upravo to (pojedinci, op. prev.), da nisu samo predmeti kojima se može manipulirati, da je čovjek svjesno biće koje ne može izbjeći donošenje prosudbi i izbora, čak i ako je loša osoba. Postoje ljudi koji su, čini se, rođeni gotovo nepopravljivo kao loši, ali njih je malo. Inače, ne vjerujem da postoje inherentno kriminalne osobe.

Koji bi ste savjet, da možete, dali mlađim generacijama?

Potrebna vam je hrabrost da slijedite istinsko, dobro i lijepo te poniznost da vas drugi vode. Treba vam prosudba koga uzeti za mentora.

Intervjuirala: Ivana Zlatarić

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Is there a way of stopping cultural degradation that you often speak of? Do you think that personas like, for example, Jacob Rees Mogg could help spread positive influence on young people when it comes to higher standards (dresscode, vocabulary, manners)?

The task is a very difficult one. Someone like Mr Rees-Mogg will of course have admirers, but probably more detractors, and there will therefore be more people trying to be as little like him as possible than those imitating him. Among other factors against change in the desired direction is the fact that to dress smartly, speak in whole sentences etc. requires much more effort than to do the opposite. Increasingly people are unwilling even to cook for themselves, because cooking requires an effort and takes away time that might otherwise be spend on entertainment, which is regarded as the real business of life. Flats are now built without kitchens, on the assumption that people will eat in restaurants or have takeaways. This is not a culture in which it will be easy to ask people to make an effort merely for civilisational reasons.

Flats are now built without kitchens, on the assumption that people will eat in restaurants or have takeaways. This is not a culture in which it will be easy to ask people to make an effort merely for civilisational reasons.

T. Dalrymple

How is massive immigration influencing these issues – what can we learn from it in the long run?

Immigration is not a unitary phenomenon, and an immigrant is not just an immigrant. He has both personal and group characteristics. It is certainly unwise to create ghettoes of people coming from a culture with an expansionist belief, and who do not want to integrate but remain separate from the rest of society. This is possible in small numbers but not in large. The problem, however, is with us rather than with them. We no longer are self-confident enough to demand that they accommodate to us rather than us to them.

From a psychiatrist point of view, what are the key steps in raising children that we should take into account when developing traits such as personal responsibility? How to teach our young adults not to blame others/society for their own actions?

I think the most important thing is the ability to say ‘No’ and to mean it. Giving in always to a child’s desires is lazy rather than generous, but seems to be a pattern at least with a large number of people. A parent who gives a child $2 does not love his child twice as much as a parent who gives him $1 but love seems often to be calculated in this way.

You mention self restraint when talking about people who pollute the environment or serial killers – do you believe this trait can be changed / improved or is it written in our genes?

No doubt there is some genetic variation, but this is only a small part of the variation. We can have a culture in which self-restraint is developed and desired, or one in which it is not. Genetics has little (but nevertheless a little) to do with it.

You’re not religious but you often defend the role of religion in society. What can the traditional teachings offer us – is there still a need for them in modern times?

In many ways the religious outlook – that Man is a fallen creature – is much more realistic than that he was born good and is perfectible. The latter view leads to absurd expectations which cannot be fulfilled.

Political correctness is something everyone talks about at large these days. You often criticize it. What do you think is the biggest negative effect of it and how to fight it without being called sexist /racist etc.?

There are two main problems with PC. The first is that prevents thought and discussion about difficult questions about genuine disagreement is possible. Worse still, it forces people either to say, or atleast not to contradict, things they know to be false, for example, that a transsexual woman is just a normal woman. This does violence to the human personality and destroys probity, making people easier to rule. It is reminscent of communist propaganda.

What would you say had the biggest impact on you while working as a prison doctor – when interacting with different types of criminals, what did you learn from them or their behaviour?

It think the most important lesson was that individuals are precisely that, that they are not merely objects who can be manipulated, that man is a conscious being who cannot avoid making judgments and choices, even if bad ones. The are some people who seem to have been born almost irredeemably bad, but they are few. Otherwise, I do not believe that there is an inherently criminal type.

If you could give one advice to younger generations, what would it be?

You need the courage to pursue the true, the good and the beautiful, and the humility to be guided by others. You need judgment as to whom you take for a mentor.

Intervjuirala: Ivana Zlatarić

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Last modified: 24. 3. 2021.
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