chapter
3 Pages

Ideas

WithJoseph Rykwert

In this chapter the author recollects the memories of his early life. The author had been attracted to and moved by what he had to say about human association. It mattered very much to him since he had lived so closely with an angry vision of a power-blighted mankind, the foundation of Canetti's anthropology, and his defining interpretation of human assembly, human association, as typified by the mass and the herd. Canettian assemblies coalesced about symbols and rituals too, but he had no special interest in collective shelter – and it was the shelter, after all, that had to be my primary concern. In any case, his Kropotkin readings suggested all too sunny and optimistic picture of humanity that cushioned me against Canetti's pessimism. If the psychoanalyst Elkisch provided the emollient he needed after the psychic contusions inflicted by Canetti, Marcel's ideas were the catalyst that allowed some of the Canettian grist to settle.