The generalised condition of hopelessness we face is not just a subjective feeling. It is grounded in the objective conditions that I sketched earlier. The systems that we have created and in which we are embroiled pose an existential threat to human life and the ecological systems that support it. And these systems make it all but impossible to address those threats. We have created a machine that is seemingly outside our capacities to constrain or to change. Not only is there no acceptable future; there is, it seems, no way to change that fact. The powerlessness we feel is thus quite real. To live in hopeless times is thus not only subjectively to feel hopeless. It is for that feeling in a real way to reflect the way things are. The social systems we have created and that are threatening the possibility of human life outrun us. We appear incapable of transforming, for the better, what we have already built.
Subjectively, hopelessness appears as a shrinking of possibilities, as a loss of our capacity to imagine what it might be to live well into the future. What we do ceases to have meaning for us, for what meaning can the present have where there is no liveable future?
Philosophy, in various guises, has traditionally been a means of dealing with despair.
help people cope with despair through a practice of philosophising that brings the practitioner to a higher state of bei
a practice that changes the self, renders it more capable, more active. In shaping the self, the practice has value in itself, not just in achieving the external end of consolation.
only political action – by which I mean collective action together with others – will help us deal with the objective conditions of hopelessness. We need not just a means of coping, but some means of social change.
take inspiration here from traditions of philosophy that tie thought to action, understanding to change
theory as a liberatory practice.
“theory as intervention, as a way to challenge the status quo.”
a tradition of philosophy born of struggle.
Glasp is a social web highlighter that people can highlight and organize quotes and thoughts from the web, and access other like-minded people’s learning.