Sometimes the zeitgeist up and gob smacks me. Two of the things I’ve done so far this week is watch the documentary Mitt on Netflix and read Simon Critchley’s NYT opinion piece about the 70’s documentary The Ascent of Man by Dr. Jacob Bronowski, which I remember seeing as a kid myself.
Watching Mitt directly challenged my impressions of Romney as an out of touch elite willing to say anything to be president. I came away from the documentary with the impression that Romney is probably a pretty decent guy, who loves his grand kids, and genuinely cares about people and the country. I still wouldn’t vote for him, but the media (both right and left) generated construct of Mitt Romney has been pretty thoroughly demolished for me.
Critchley’s op-ed is about the perils of certainty, as demonstrated by Dr. Bronowski more than a quarter century ago. The fulcrum of the piece is a five minute segment of the 12 hour documentary in which Dr. Bronowski ties absolute certainty to fanaticism and Auschwitz.
I try to maintain an open mind, to see issues and events from alternative view points, but the combination of Mitt and Critchley’s piece was like a boot to the ass driving home the message that certainty, more than anything else, is the enemy.