The former critic of the old New Republic, Leon Wieseltier, has written a beautify essay in the current New York Book Review. It’s a cogent assessment of the force of technology on culture and the human soul. More significantly, it’s a prescription for a response and a plea for understanding, patience and perseverance, and most importantly a continued allegiance to humanism, which offers the only hope to counteract the negative implications of a neutral technology that’s open to misuse (think calls to perpetuate physical violence). I was optimistic, looking at the long view, after I read this. Wieseltier, who I talked with briefly one day in Larry McMurtry’s bookstore in Archer City, Texas, (I told him how much I admired his New Republic work; reply: “Thanks…you’re too kind,”) wrote an enduring masterpiece, Kaddish, which sprang from the death of his father in the 60s. Among other things, it’s a plea for reading and continued study, a searching out for a way to lead a sustained, rich, meaningful life. He continues to offer a way through troubled times. Take your time reading this. It will steady troubled and despairing souls.
Here’s the essay.