Saturday, June 17, 2006

Against Misanthropy and Defeatism: Frank Furedi

How we view humanity really matters. If we insist on seeing humans as morally degraded parasites, then every significant technical problem from the millennium bug to the avian flu will be feared as a potential catastrophe beyond our control. Today’s intellectual pessimism and cultural disorientation distracts the human imagination from confronting challenges that lie ahead. All the talk about human survival expresses a crisis of belief in humanity - and that is why the real question today is not whether humanity will survive the twenty-first century, but whether our belief in humanity can survive it.

Despite Western culture’s profound sense of estrangement from its human sensibilities, individuals possess an unprecedented potential for influencing the way they live their lives. It is only now that significant sections of the public have real, meaningful choice and control. We must reinvigorate the belief in autonomy and self-determination, and recognise that we have moved from the Stone Age to a time when people’s transformative potential is a remarkable force.

Frank Furedi is on to something, I think. He does tend to ignore the unavoidable fact that the "ecological footprint" associated with homo sapiens actually is causing both human suffering and the extinction of other species, and actually does bode very ill for the near future. But at least he's not being an auld miseryguts about everything. He's not giving up. He's not writing us off.

Furedi's making an argument that's quite similar to (but much more developed than) the case I've been trying to make about the affairs of the world, so I'm starting to get interested in the guy. Plus, Furedi is one of those humanists over at The Manifesto Club.

No, not that one.

This one.


Blogger FurGaia said...

I used to think Furedi very insightful as well. However, after reading this, I am not sure what to think anymore. For me the jury is still out on this. Still it may not be wise to ignore those critique of Furedi.

5:25 AM  
Blogger tglavin said...

Furgaia: Some of those people at Spiked are pretty weird, and Furedi has one of those hilarious histories that always seem to accompany academics with Trotskyist-faction backgrounds.

Following all those tendencies and parties and grouplets. . . Jeez there should a board game. I'm still thinking, with reservations, that Furedi's written a pretty good essay.

But thanks for the tip.


- t

8:39 AM  
Blogger Dirk Buchholz said...

Speaking of the RCP .For an example of their idiocy,arrogant's and their tendency to try and bend people to theory rather then the other way around.One need look no further than this little "gem" of theirs entitled
"Second Harvest".
Then they wonder why they connect with very few.Marx would roll over and sigh,while saying me a "marxist",not fucking likely.
The "left" needs no enemies with "friends" like the RCP...

11:49 PM  

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