Prior to Law and Subsequent to Understanding: Benjamin as a Student of the Law
journal contributionposted on 22.05.2017, 03:05 by Stephanie Polsky
Over the course of his intellectual career, the cultural critic Walter Benjamin became preoccupied with analysing certain political and philosophical trends within German society that indicated a pending collapse of society itself and the eventual annihilation of its inhabitants. Through careful observation he concluded that the German people were subject to systematic violence brought on by collective forces in government and ideology. A conspicuous absence of esteem for individual agency, coupled with an unconditional adherence to the group mentality, signalled a decline in their social conscience. As a result of this individuals were left profoundly vulnerable within their communities. This collective character of acquiescence paved the way for their society to stagnate politically and ideologically, eventually resulting in the rise of German fascism.