Fila Sophia

applied philosophy, deep democracy, sustainability / by A.R.Teleb

Tolerance: A Few Words for a Dirty Word

Jacques Derrida, painted portrait _DDC3338

Jacques Derrida, painted portrait (Photo: Abode of Chaos)

A more playful title could be “Doing words dirty: de-riddling Derridian derisions.”

“Tolerance,” first clichéd, was then dirtied by philosophers of wordplay, philosophers who would hold it only in the gloves of quotation marks. Others advised it should be replaced with more laudable locutions like acceptance, welcoming, or hospitality. And we had to agree those were indeed beautiful words.

But homely tolerance, empty in the abstract, is full of meaning lived. It does not rise to the high ideals and warmth of its finer-sounding cousins, but perhaps it serves better as a beginning. I will illustrate with a mundane personal example.

Two friends of mine are called “Bob & Seth,” one a poet of dark filth, the other a marketer of oily hype. Both notions used to, and often still do, turn my stomach. For me, dirty words. I used to avoid those topics, if at all I could, and tolerate them otherwise. But the trashy poet makes the best chocolate-ginger-rum candy on the planet and is surely one of its kindest inhabitants. And the unctuous publicist has shown himself honest under every temptation.

Had I never tolerated these personifications of my dirty words, I would never have seen the beauty in grimy lit or known the usefulness of suave marketing. Yes, I sometime say, yuck and iyeuux when I hear their filth and grease, but only as much as at life I call out muck.

Perhaps Derrida and others were right, “tolerance” is dirty. It is a dirty beginning, like the dirt that starts the sprout that stands up to harvest life from our speeding Sun. A dirty, necessary, unavoidable beginning.

In short, just because, tolerating, we set our own limits, it does not mean that our tolerance doesn’t grow as we do.

3 comments on “Tolerance: A Few Words for a Dirty Word

  1. Pingback: Quora

  2. A writer trashy of poetry? Ginger-Rum Candy? I wonder who that could be?

    When I first started writing, I wrote only spiritual poetry and tame blameless prose. Now the poetry that I blog could easily be found on a bathroom wall or sticking like a splatter of shit refusing to be flushed into the darkness.

    My hope is that someday the sewage that flows forth from my pen will become, to use the words of Charles Bukowski, a “stinky beer shit. Meaning that the poem or story will stick to a person and be not forgotten.

    However, the writing I don’t blog and reserve for submissions to literary rags only, is absent the stink of America’s dark underbelly.

  3. Pingback: Tolerance: A Few Words for a Dirty Word | appli...

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Equality by lot

The democratic potential of sortition

The Participatory and Deliberative Democracy Specialist Group of the Political Studies Association

What you read is what I've felt

Fallen philosopher's writing


Impara l'italiano con noi!

Citizens' Jury

Demokratie durch einige für alle - per Zufall

The Facco Papers

applied philosophy, deep democracy, sustainability / by A.R.Teleb

Woodland Pattern's Blog

Dedicated to the discovery, cultivation and presentation of contemporary literature and the arts.

applied philosophy, deep democracy, sustainability / by A.R.Teleb

Ragman's Circles

Talking about what the matter was

Yanis Varoufakis


The Reluctant American

Revolutionary Sustainability, Sustainable Revolutions, Being Female, The Academic Fairy Land of Status Quo, and Other Jibberish

Structural Violence

applied philosophy, deep democracy, sustainability / by A.R.Teleb

Cyclargus Erembis

"a new genus of blues"


The greatest site in all the land!


At the intersection of participation and technology. By Tiago C. Peixoto. Opinions are my own and do not reflect those of any institutions with which I am or have been affiliated.

Tahrir & Beyond

Revolution bound

Musings from Upstate New York

applied philosophy, deep democracy, sustainability / by A.R.Teleb

Mystère et boules de gomme !

the internet watering hole for fans of the "French in Action" language video course

A Philosopher Muses

There’s more than one way to think about it.


Expertise in Voting & Elections in the American States

The Truth Warrior

Empowering and Inspiring people to be fully authentic, loving, happy, peaceful and joyful in their lives.

%d bloggers like this: