The Self Awakened – Pragmatism Unbound – Roberto Mangabeira Unger


Photo credit: Alexey Kljatov (ChaoticMind75) via / CC BY-NC

Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2007.

p. 18 “The individual, his character and his fate are for real.  Each individual is different from every other individual who has ever lived or who will ever live.  A human life is a dramatic and irreversible movement from birth to death, surrounded by mystery and overshadowed by chance.

What individuals can do with their lives depends on the way society is organized and on their place within the social order, as well as on achievement and luck.  What happens in biographical time turns in large part on what happens in historical time.  For this reason alone, history is a scene of decisive action, and everything that takes place in it is, like individuality itself, for real, not an illusory or distracting epiphenomenon obscuring a timeless reality.  History is not cyclical but rather resembles individual life in being unilinear and irreversible.  The institutions and the beliefs we develop in historical time may expand or diminish the life chances of the individual, including his relative power to challenge and change them in the course of his activities.”

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