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    The New Yorker | Joshua Rothman | 11/11/16 | 13 min
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    • bill
      Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
      1 week ago

      Wow. This profile on Charles Taylor was published in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s 2016 election. In the age of COVID, I think it’s even more relevant than ever.

      In Taylor’s view, cool disengagement is a fiction; an ardent search for goodness is the human reality. “We all seek a sense of what it would be like to be fully connected to something. We all have a sense of what really living, and not just existing, would be.”

      Because of our giant leap backwards into something that feels, day in and out, like dystopia, that “sense” is now a historical one, and it’s clearer than ever. I, for one, can’t stop thinking about the past, about what could have been.... An impromptu, guilt-free party. The neighbors popping by to say hello. Travel. Spontaneity. Smiling in public. Laughter. Sex with a stranger. Live music. A happy, wasted day. Adventure.

      Was all of that real? Was life really that good? And are things that bad now? Yes. Yes. Yes.

      And it’s all self-inflicted. We’re doing this to ourselves and we don’t have to. The darkest thought of all is that we humans don’t want reality any more. It’s too scary, too unpredictable. We feel safer when we’re told to wear a mask, stay inside, stay away from others.

      I know what I want, I keep telling myself. But do I really? Despite my best efforts, I too keep checking out, giving up. And God knows I know how to gaslight myself. So now I’m asking myself:

      How do I know that I want to be free? How free do I want to be? How much do I care about this experiment called democracy? And is it worth my whole entire life?