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Sunday, October 15, 2023

Ibram X Kendi's Crusade against the Enlightenment

      This post, which was commissioned by my friend Glenn Loury, appears here.  If you get a popup announcing a paywall, simply find and click the "continue reading" button and you should have no problems.  Let me know if you do.


PJ Cats said...

Well, that was an interesting read. For me, it associates with a question that pops up in my head from time to time: what is it that makes people perceive themselves (or others) as elements of a group before individuals? How come I am perceived as 'a male, white, elderly, privileged' before I am perceived as PJ Cats? And how come, after I introduced myself, I am once again held against these standards? Why can't I just be me? It just gets so friggin' hard to be around people... I like the world to be a better place, but there's just so much (little) I can do.
As for the subject, he appears to be a young man with ideas how to improve the world in his image. They tend to be dangerous. I had some ideas in my time and luckily was a total failure in almost every respect. I wish him much the same. "Experience is paid at the price of all that man hath, his house, his wife, his children. Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none can come to buy." Some high culture there, but I got it from a Van Morrison song: 'let the slave'.

Energyflow said...

Oddly I went through a similar journey of subjectivism, like a coming of age novel, "portrait of an Artists" or similar. This paralleled the middle ages to postmodern ideas in a few decades. I was raised Catholic, but this felt like deadwood, tried out evangelical life with bible reading, enthusiasm but felt its ignorance, learned then in high school scientific method, enlightenment literature and felt emptiness( to be or not to be, Sartre,etc). So the struggle became purely individual without ideology. My yoga and tai chi practice is " a religion of one" as for millions of others and my practices are eclectic, cultural. TSs followers going to concerts madly are termed fanatics as are football fans and gamers. Community is where they find it. I think a big problem is the overavailability of media. The more you read, see, consume the less certainty you have. It is all diminished, like on the other hand hunger makes a morsel taste wonderful, whereas being a wallflower makes one appreciate and hold onto a partner. The modern industrial world has given us, as in late Rome, lots of wealth, literature, cultural distractions. An impoverished world gives us a keen sense of reality, like one emerging from a long stint in nature or a meditation. Again back to the generations theory and parallel civilizational cycle theory: crisis is caused by abundance and decadence. In turn poverty of the crisis focuses us to work hard, giving us abundance. The cycle repeats.

Kendi seeks his own reality, like feminists, gays, everyone really in his perceived group. If he were blind, perhaps his blackness were of no import, but rather his handicap and all would be interpreted through that lens, much as a 20s stream of consciousness novel by faulkner or Virginia Woolf. Now this rebellious period with Picasso and co. has gone mainstream. I feel therefore I am, but who are you?