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Walter Lippmann’s ‘Interest’. By - Anindita Ganguly - Maitreyee Karambelkar - Archana More. The enlisting of interest. The human mind is endlessly and persistently creative

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Walter Lippmann’s ‘Interest’

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Walter lippmann s interest

Walter Lippmann’s‘Interest’


- Anindita Ganguly

- Maitreyee Karambelkar

- Archana More

The enlisting of interest

The enlisting of interest

  • The human mind is endlessly and persistently creative

  • The information received by the human mind does not lie inert on its surface but is worked upon and given a new expression

The enlisting of interest1

The enlisting of interest

  • The human mind makes use of allegory to remember certain names, places, events etc.

  • Not all information is accessible to the individual. Neither does every piece of news interest him

The enlisting of interest2

The enlisting of interest

  • It is only when this information is packaged in a manner which appeals to him that he shows interest and attains knowledge

  • However, not everyone is a visualiser. Not everyone can put abstract into a concrete, attractive form. For this we have a class of people skilled at this art e.g. Film directors

The enlisting of interest3

The enlisting of interest

  • However, these attractive forms may not appeal to an individual if it does not reflect a part or whole of his own reality. e.g. The feeling of empathy

  • The abstract idea should either comprise of the extreme of human emotions or should be a part of human everyday experiences

The enlisting of interest4

The enlisting of interest

  • Interest is very dynamic i.e. it keeps changing with time. E.g. A movie made five years ago keeping in with the audience’s interest at that time, if released today would not hold the same appeal with the audience as it would have back then because the audience’s interests have undergone a change

The enlisting of interest5

The enlisting of interest

  • This brings the maker into eternal conflict with the marketer of art as the marketer caught in the material trappings will refuse to make changes according to the changing times

  • Classics, however are an exception to this rule as they hold meaning at all periods of time irrespective of generations, and are hence timeless

The enlisting of interest6

The enlisting of interest

  • Every individual attaches different significance to the information received

  • The same story will be heard differently by different people as they attach their own meaning to it i.e. they will see it from different perspectives

The enlisting of interest7

The enlisting of interest

  • This happens because of different experiences, culture, neighbourhood, family, friends, social position i.e. nature and nurture

  • People colour stories they hear with the brush of their individual experiences as a result of which the story gets modified drastically as it travels from the source to the destination

Self interest reconsidered

Self-interest reconsidered

  • Influences are involved into the making of a man's charactera) Physical and Psychological Influencesb) Preparation of characters is a function of moral education

  • Man changes according to the changing situations, places and peoplea) There is no ONE self at workb) Man is an actor in the stage of life, acting out characters according to the situation [a versatile actor]

Self interest reconsidered1

Self-interest reconsidered

  • The concept of ‘Multi-dimensional man’

  • Hippocrates says that a human being has many layers to his personality, not all of which are visible to the society

  • Many of his impulses are buried deep within the dark recesses of his mind. These comprise of his unexpressed or suppressed desires.

Self interest reconsidered2

Self-interest reconsidered

  • These instincts are very often crude and generally fall outside the norms approved by the society

  • They may surface in certain social situations and may produce behaviours which is ‘not expected of the individual’

Self interest re considered

Self-interest re-considered

  • E.g. When a war breaks out, the murderous, animal instincts of a usually peace-loving town will surface causing a shift in interests

  • The preachers of morality are not men who are trained in science, technology, economy etc.

Self interest reconsidered3

Self-interest reconsidered

  • Hence, the morals preached by these men would prove futile during events which take place due to either scientific, technological, economic or other phenomena

  • Thus we see that ethics and morals cannot be fixed but rather they have to change with changing times and changing situations

Self interest reconsidered4

Self-interest reconsidered

  • As society becomes increasingly complex, old morals need to be re-considered and re-worked upon

  • The theory propounded by James Madison states that there exist numerous types of interests within a society e.g. landed interests, manufactured interests, mercantile interests etc.

Self interest reconsidered5

Self-interest reconsidered

  • Interests are never linear as man plays not one but several roles in his life and is a part of several social institutions

  • These interests are conflicting ones and divide society into groups based on where people’s interests lie.

Self interest reconsidered6

Self-interest reconsidered

  • However, man being a multi-dimensional being never remains in the same group for long as his loyalties change according to every role he assumes

  • Contrarily, the Socialist or the Marxist theory states that the disposition of a man is governed by the economic class he is born into

Self interest reconsidered7

Self-interest reconsidered

  • It states that the economic interests of man alone determine his place in society

  • However, pitting this theory against that of Madison’s shows that the theory is not really valid. Example of a Hindu and a Muslim labourer



  • Thus, to conclude the topic one can say that man’s journey in this world is continuous, one that explores unknown realms as a result of human intelligence

  • As he explore the unknown, his interests can never remain constant. Interests are like water- which takes the form of its container. Interests similarly are governed by situations and phenomena

Thank you

Thank You

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