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Tag Archives: pessimism
It’s 2014. A hundred years ago, the assassination in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand initiated a series of calamitous events that brought on World War I. And the way WWI ended (with the Versailles Treaty) led to yet another series … Continue reading
That, at any rate, is John Gray’s thesis, and he has a new book out. In a recent interview at The Spectator, he had this to say: [K]nowledge can never eradicate the conflicts of the human world, or produce harmony where … Continue reading
It sounds like a joke, but that’s the thesis of the lead article in The Spectator’s 2012 Christmas issue: Never has there been less hunger, less disease or more prosperity. The West remains in the economic doldrums, but most developing … Continue reading
In the below video, Woody Allen offers some unsettling and thought-provoking responses to some questions. Owen Wilson is also interesting. _________ Allen’s resigned and melancholy answers remind me that the winter holiday season is here and that my favorite Christmas … Continue reading
John Gray thinks Steven Pinker’s thesis in his new book—in which Pinker argues that the world is progressing toward an ever less violent future—is deluded. In the Jacob-wrestle between Enlightenment rationality and our evolution-formed imperatives, Gray is betting that our … Continue reading
___ I’m feeling increasingly bleak about the human future going into 2012. I say this without the least pleasure because I have two small children (one is five, the other is eight). I don’t want anything I point to here … Continue reading
In his book, Straw Dogs (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002), professor of European thought, John Gray, argues that the humanist belief in progress is deluded in part because our experience of “consciousness, selfhood, and free will” are uneven at best (p. 38): Our lives … Continue reading
Willem Buiter is Citgroup’s chief economist, and here’s CNBC today reporting his forecast for the global economy over the next 40 years: “We expect strong growth in the world economy until 2050, with average real GDP growth rates of 4.6 percent … Continue reading
Some Perpective on the New Year: A Bit of Pessimistic Buddha-Wisdom from Arthur Schopenhauer (and Monty Python)
A little something to keep life and the New Year in perspective. Arthur Schopenhauer, from Book 1, Section 16 of The World as Will and Representation (1818, translated from the German by E.F. Payne): For whenever a man in any … Continue reading
The universe appears to be lacking in purpose in some ways, but not in others. For example, the Holocaust and the panda’s “thumb” would seem to suggest that we live in a historically contingent universe indifferent and blind to both suffering and … Continue reading
This quote is from Albert Camus’s essay, “Pessimism and Tyranny.” It appeared in COMBAT, September 1945: No, everything is not summed up in negation and absurdity. We know this. But we must first posit negation and absurdity because they are what … Continue reading
Arthur Schopenhauer wrote this in his “The World as Will and Representation” (Dover Edition, vol. 1, p. 88): “For whenever a man in any way loses self-control, or is struck down by a misfortune, or grows angry, or loses heart, … Continue reading
Are You a Passive Pessimist, ala Schopenhauer, or an Agressive Pessimist, ala Nietzsche?: A Review of Joshua Dienstag’s Book, “Pessimism”
Pessimism (Princeton 2006), by Joshua Foa Dienstag, is excellent on many levels, but its chief value is in the way it locates “pessimism” as an identifiable philosophical position. The author traces the pessimistic tradition through the Dionysian pre-Socratics, Rousseau, Schopenhauer, … Continue reading