“The Disambiguation of the World”

Scholar of Arabic studies Thomas Bauer presents essay on the loss of ambiguity and diversity

© Reclam

Scholar of Arabic studies Prof. Dr Thomas Bauer of the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” has published an essay on the tendency of contemporary Western societies to simplify the world. The book “Die Vereindeutigung der Welt” (The Disambiguation of the World) was published in the Reclam series “Was bedeutet das alles?” (What does this all mean?) and has already received several positive reviews. Using diverse examples from politics, art, music, literature, religion and business, the author illustrates the tendency to reduce diversity and to force back that which is unexpected and nonconformist. Bauer warns of the consequences of a loss of diversity ending in “fundamentalist disambiguation” or “meaning-negating indifference”. Both are a threat to free democratic societies.

The author contrasts his diagnosis of the times with many examples of a greater "tolerance of ambiguity" in pre-modern societies. He understands this term as the ability or inability of a person or a society to sustain ambiguity and to tolerate conflicting values and truths without insisting on the validity of their own convictions. Bauer transferred the word from psychology to the level of cultural mentalities, thus coining a term that has led to a new understanding of Islam and has become the hermeneutic key in cultural studies. (vvm)

Reference: Bauer, Thomas: Die Vereindeutigung der Welt. Über den Verlust an Mehrdeutigkeit und Vielfalt (=[Was bedeutet das alles?]), Stuttgart: Reclam 2018, 104 S., ISBN 978-3-15-019492-8, 6,00 Euro