March 16, 2011in Here and Now: On Politics and Culture, Lagniappe, Spirituality2 Comments Lessons from the Quake: Giving Up IllusionsThe following ran as an opinion essay in the Los Angeles Times of 16 March 2011:http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-johnson-earthquake-20110316,0,2960695.story
Philip boo riley
Interesting to find amidst my morning review of the local paper (San Jose mercury news),references to something I discussed with my students just last week- voltaire’s parody of Leiniz’s theodicy. Perhaps intentionally, your use of “illusion” invokes freud’s argument about the future of civilization…but I’d propose ambition instead of illusion, to capture both the hubris of moderns (Leo Strauss on oblivion of eternity, overcoming chance, mastery of nature, etc.) but also the lesson you propose, that we are not isolated monads but instead or connected to one another, and ultimately, as you nicely capturenit in your final paragraph the very fabric of all that exists.
Thanks, Philip, for a comment that’s, um, smarter than I. Over the past weekend I heard Luis Urrea commenting on immigration. “We’ve got to figure out that there’s no ‘us’ and ‘them,'” he said. “There’s only ‘we.'” Amen, bro. Keep teaching. They’re not making it any easier for us.