Dissenting with Giddens on Adaptive Reactions

I find some common ground with Giddens, his understanding of certain systems and mechanisms is solid but other ideas do fall short, today I am dissenting with his arguments on Adaptive Reactions

For the modern era is the era of the world’s change, things that existed before in understanding are transformed into a state of awareness. The idea that the end of the world is now understood more than ever is true, and is exemplified by the punny quote of “but, ‘Apocalypse from now on” (page 134).  I dissent with Giddens to a point. The end of the world is an event few men can fathom, it is the ending of the literal world, there is nothing before and the unsung past that is wiped away in great cosmic wrath or man’s inclination to folly. Giddens believes today is the day that man’s folly is the greatest. Which it is always is. Giddens details how people react to these things. Then goes into the understanding of the views on the end.

Giddens has four reactions to the living of the world’s forewarned doom by man’s destructive nature by binary sides. The attitude of “pragmatic acceptance” where one focuses on surviving the outcomes, the attitude of “sustained optimism” where one hopes for man’s enlightened self to prevail, the attitude of “cynical pessimism” of dark humor, and the attitude of “radical engagement” where one changes the world to prevent such things.

The awareness of man’s position and the relative size of it, has always been an important question, in the 19th and 20th century the bleak won. Thinkers believed in existential and nihilistic arguments where man’s place was small and only current with the hope being in man’s future only. Further on the understanding of how Earth was so alone in space, the old “a single candle in a sea of darkness, and if it were blown out? Who would know and care?” Such is the background on this topic, while none of these views approach this point which is a imitation of Giddens, the withhold of mentioning of the nihilistic perspective, a view that is well founded and known of. This view in shades is in both pragmatic acceptance and radical engagement.

The next is the confusing arranging; putting the reactions against each other informally without real harder definitions. These reactions can go farther if what they are supposed to reflect is larger, bringing in the usual trust and risk. Each of these is reflective of the orientation and the greatest trust and risk, the survival of man. Each of these has a dimension of trust in such systems such as “government” and “science”. These systems inevitably have measures of faith. Each reaction is as such that. If I am pragmatic, I for myself only, I will survive the forces that I don’t want to or can’t understand. The optimism that man shall triumph and I will not worry for the systems that exist will save me. The cynical, there are forces coming, and what can I do but have my doubt and resolution to I most react and I most do something for these systems will not save me unless they work.

4 thoughts on “Dissenting with Giddens on Adaptive Reactions

  1. First off I must say that this is a very well-structured point and you do a fantastic job of dissenting Giddens’ arguments on adaptive reactions. You did quite well on dissenting the topic, and by bringing up Giddens’ quote on page 134, about the “apocalypse from now on”, you furthered your discussion even more. You then go on to say, “The end of the world is an event few men can fathom, it is the ending of the literal world, there is nothing before and the unsung past that is wiped away in great cosmic wrath or man’s inclination to folly. Giddens believes today is the day that man’s folly is the greatest.” This statement is very well written, and it provides great dissenting on the topic as well. You then go on to address the four reactions to the living of worlds forewarned doom that Giddens’ talks about, and proceed to bring up analogies in the next paragraph which further your ideas more. You then describe your own set of views pertaining to Giddens’ “four reactions to the living of worlds forewarned doom” and finish off your post. I too am pragmatic in the situation, I will do whatever it takes to survive rather than worrying about it. Overall, this post was very well done and for the most part I agree with what you are saying.


  2. I enjoyed your analysis of Giddens’ discussion on the end of the world and how well you countered his points. It is easy to simply agree what Giddens has to say, but you countered what he said and extended upon “Apocalypse from now on”. I especially liked your counter point when you noted that “the end of the world is an event few men can fathom”. Complete and utter nothingness may seem to be an easy future to imagine but no continuation of society as we know it is an incredibly difficult concept to grasp.


  3. This is a very interesting reply to Gidden’s ideas of the end of the world. What I hear you saying is the end is unknown and will essentially remain unknown until it comes. Although there are many theories as to how the world will eventually end, none of them are certain. Most theories stem from the government and science, which then links us to the idea of trust and risk. We are somewhat obligated to put trust in the government, expecting it to have societies best interest. As for science, it is forever changing and developing, making it another risk when it comes to trust.

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  4. Tyler,

    Thank you for a provocative take on how Giddens sees people reacting to the world in late modernity. I wonder, though, if some of the other possibilities you bring up, like existentialism, could in fact be subsumed in the four adaptive responses identified by Giddens. Existentialism, for example, could be considered “bleak,” but it also calls for radical engagement, right? How might its emergence in the twentieth century impact our reading of Giddens?



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