Humans in Dark Times

Article in The New York Times
24 February, 2017

To deepen our reflections.

“Writing in the late 1960s, Hannah Arendt conjured the term “dark times” to address the legacies of war and human suffering.

Arendt was not simply concerned with mapping out the totalitarian conditions into which humanity had descended. She was also acutely aware of the importance of individuals who challenge with integrity the abuses of power in all their oppressive forms. Countering violence, she understood, demands sustained intellectual engagement: We are all watchpersons, guided by the lessons and cautions of centuries of unnecessary devastation.

Over the past year, we have engaged in a series of discussions with prominent and committed intellectuals who are all concerned in various ways with developing a critique of violence adequate to our times.

Sadly, many of the warnings offered have become more pressing than ever. Across the world, it is possible to witness the liberation of prejudice, galvanized by the emergence of a politics of hate and division that plays directly into the everyday fears of those seduced by new forms of fascism.

The mission of The Stone is to explore issues both timely and timeless. Violence is evidently such a phenomenon, demanding purposeful and considered historical reflection. But here we immediately encounter a problem: If fighting violence demands new forms of ethical thinking that can be developed only with the luxury of time, what does this mean for the present moment when history is being steered in a more dangerous direction and seems to move more quickly every day?”

To read the entire article, please click here.

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