I would like to share a quote from a book I am re-reading with a student and which I think deserves careful study and discussion: Revolt of the Masses by José Ortega y Gasset .
I offer this quote without comment (for the present):
“Advanced civilisation is one and the same thing as arduous problems. Hence, the greater the progress, the greater danger it is in. Life gets gradually better, but evidently also gradually more complicated. Of course, as problems become more complex, the means of solving them also become more perfect. But each new generation must master these perfected means. Amongst them- to come to the concrete- there is one most plainly attached to the advance of a civilisation, namely, that it have a great deal of the past at its back, a great deal of experience; in a word: history. Historical knowledge is a technique of the first order to preserve and continue a civilisation already advanced. Not that it affords positive solutions to the new aspect of vital conditions- life is always different from what it was- but that it prevents us committing the ingenuous mistakes of other times. But if, in addition to being old and, therefore, beginning to find life difficult, you have lost the memory of the past, and do not profit by experience, then everything turns to disadvantage.” (Take from chapter x, “Primitivism and history”)
When I work with students in creative writing I like to tell them that poetry, plays, and fiction can be about anything they like. It is a canvas for their imagination and they can use it to delve into areas of the silly and absurd as life often is both. . . among other things.
Anyway, I like to try and practice what I preach, that is, I like to try and put my own work (and myself) out there. This is why I am using my website to share my publications.
My editorial, “Let the Myth of Exceptionalism Die,” is in today’s London Free Press.
I caught an error after sending the piece in. You will notice that two dates appear regarding the Danish rescue of Jews during World War II: 1940 & 1943. The correct date should simply by (October) 1943.