“Writing a century ago, H. L. Mencken bemoaned America’s “libido for the ugly.” There exists, he wrote, a “love of ugliness for its own sake, the lust to make the world intolerable. Its habitat is the United States.” (Why Is Everything So Ugly?).

But probably not just the USofA. How often have you heard someone say that ‘this cheapo food I am buying is good enough for us’? The inverse snobbery: we don’t need anything beautiful or tasty or nice: we are just plain and humble salt-of-the-Earth. Close the door on your way out. We do not want to flourish.

Yet: “In the early writings, Marx contrasts ‘political emancipation’ with what he calls ‘human emancipation’. This comparison has two central elements: political emancipation is flawed but extant, whilst human emancipation, although it avoids the ‘incompleteness and contradiction’ of its political counterpart, is not yet realised in the world.” (David Leopold in ‘The Young Karl Marx’). I believe that Ernst Bloch later called this Heimat, as in ‘Heimat’ is ‘etwas, das allen in die Kindheit scheint and worin noch niemand war’. The key is in noch.

© Henning Bertram 2023