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for your mental. February 28, 2009

Posted by Jordan in Quotes.
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“Our society is run by a managerial bureaucracy, by professional politicians; people are motivated by mass suggestion, their aim is producing more and consuming more, as purposes in themselves. All activities are subordinated to economic goals, means have become ends; man is an automaton — well fed, well clad, but without any ultimate concern for that which is his peculiarly human quality and function. If man is to be able to love, he must be put in his supreme place. The economic machine must serve him, rather than he serve it. He must be enabled to share experience, to share work, rather than, at best, share in profits. Society must be organized in such a way that man’s social, loving nature is not separated from his social existence, but becomes one with it. If it is true, as I have tried to show, that love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence, then any society which excludes, relatively, the development of love, must in the long run perish of its own contradiction with the basic necessities of human nature.” – Erich Fromm

“The skylines lit up at dead of night, the air-conditioning systems cooling empty hotels in the desert, and artificial light in the middle of the day all have something both demented and admirable about them: the mindless luxury of a rich civilization, and yet of a civilization perhaps as scared to see the lights go out as was the hunter in his primitive night.” – Jean Baudrillard

“The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“I don’t give a fuck if you don’t know what I’m talking about – this is art. When you go see a painting on the wall and it looks bugged out because you don’t know what the fuck he thinking, because he ain’t got no benches, no trees there, it’s just a splash. The nigga that did it know what the fuck it is.” – Ghostface Killah

Cornel West September 30, 2008

Posted by Jordan in Books, Quotes, Thoughts.
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Here’s Cornel West, Professor of Religion at Princeton, being interviewed in Rolling Stone last fall. The interviewer has just asked West whether or not he is optimistic about the future …

“The categories of optimism and pessimism don’t exist for me. I’m a blues man. A blues man is a prisoner of hope, and hope is a qualitatively different category than optimism. Optimism is a secular construct, a calculation of probability. Black folk in America have never been optimistic about the future – what have we had to be optimistic about? But we are people of hope. Hope wrestles with despair, but it doesn’t generate optimism. It just generates this energy to be courageous, to bear witness, to see what the end is going to be. No guarantee, unfinished, open-ended. I am a prisoner of hope. I’m going to die full of hope. There’s no doubt about that, because that is a choice I make. But at the same time, the end doesn’t look too good right now.”

Now, I don’t agree with some of West’s views, but that is nothing close to an opinionated invalidation of all of them, and his clarity and honesty here are just fantastic. In my most recent example of biting off more than I can chew, I bought The Cornel West Reader the other day, and I hope to be able to start digesting some of that soon. It’s the kind of meal that requires many sittings to polish off. At over 600 pages total, and around 550 pages of legit content, it’s quite the tome, but it deserves to be, as the material encompasses decades of essays and interviews. You might (heavy, heavy emphasis on “might”) see some thoughts on his ideas in this space at some point, but don’t quote me on that one.