chapter  6
28 Pages

Breyten Breytenbach as Dialectical Thinker

From the 1850s until sometime about 1970, the distinctive themes and presuppositions of the dialectical tradition described in this study were continuously present in South African political and intellectual life. At some times these themes were more coherently organised and forcefully articulated; at others more dispersed and marginal. At some times they cohered into collective projects, consciously defi ned in opposition to the ruling ideas of the day; at others they were pursued by individuals in relative isolation. But the central tenets of this tradition, as outlined in the introductory chapter of this study, endured: free and ongoing discussion as a precondition for the good society; self-discovery as an essential part of human liberation, and the self as process rather than essence; human liberation as a process requiring conscious recovery of an ancient past, and especially the legacy of the Greek city-state.