Prepared by ashok sharma
Ulrich Beck, the renowned(widely known and esteemed, सुप्रसिद्ध ) sociologist(a social scientist who studies the institutions and development of human society समाजशास्त्री ) who died earlier this year, captured the contemporary(belonging to the present time, समकालीन) zeitgeist(the spirit of the time; the spirit characteristic of an age or generation, समय की प्रचलित रीति) the spirit(the vital principle or animating force within living things
जोश ) of our time, like few others. His worldview is best summed up by the title of his book Risk Society . He painted society as an inherently(in an inherent manner सहज रूप से ) destructive force, and felt that humans were prone(having a tendency (to); इच्छुक ) to destroy nature and, ultimately, one another.
The fact that Beck, born in 1944, was German is essential to his role in defining the zeitgeist. For his generation, living in the shadow of the Holocaust(an act of mass destruction and loss of life (especially in war or by fire आहुति प्रलय ), the world revealed itself as a failure of the Enlightenment(education that results in understanding and the spread of knowledge प्रबोधन , शिक्षा ) and of progressive thought. For Beck, social experimentation in the name of progress was a source of risk, a threat, a danger. His views had precedents(an example that is used to justify similar occurrences at a later time मिसाल , पूर्व उदाहरण ). The slogan of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the 1957 German General Election was ' Keine Experimente' (no experiments). Although the CDU's leader, Konrad Adenauer, used the slogan to discredit(damage the reputation of
बेइज़्ज़ती ) the Social Democrats, the sentiments(a personal belief or judgment that is not founded on proof or certainty
विचार) 'Keine Experimente' captured – risk aversion(a feeling of intense dislike
विरोध , वह वस्तु जिससे घृणा की जाय,
प्रतिकूलता ) and distrust(doubt about someone's honesty संदेह , अविश्वास करना) in human reason – were to dominate not just German politics and culture, but also the outlook(the act of looking out देखने का नजरिया ) of the West.Matthias Heitmann is also German, but he's from a very different school of thought to Adenauer. He takes on the zeitgeist in his new book Zeitgeisterjagd , or 'hunting the zeitgeist'. He is not just interested in defining the current zeitgeist( समय की प्रचलित रीति); he's also intent on exploring the consequences(निष्कर्ष ) of the current zeitgeist. And, for Heitmann, the consequences are dire( खतरनाक ). Risk aversion has infused(उत्तेजित करना ) public and private life to such an extent that we now think of ourselves as too incompetent( अयोग्य ) to act upon the world. And this ultimately (आख़िरकार ) renders(प्रस्तुत करना) us incapable(अक्षम) of overcoming( पराजय करना) the problems and challenges that face us. The result? We have become unfree(held in servitude पराधीन)
Heitmann develops his thesis( लेख ) by dissecting( टुकड़े करना) contemporary(समकालीन) attitudes( प्रवृत्ति) towards identity(पहचान ), tolerance( सहनशीलता ), education, enjoyment, emancipation(मोक्ष), environmentalism and victimhood (पीड़ित ). He shows how these attitudes constitute( जमा करना) a zeitgeist (समय की प्रचलित रीति ) in which humans are seen as incapable, irrational(विवेकरहित, तर्कहीन ) and irresponsible( गैर जिम्मेदार ).