Anchored

Cornel West On Learning How To Die

January 20, 2021 CLT Episode 23
Anchored
Cornel West On Learning How To Die
Show Notes Transcript

Note: This is Part 1 of our conversation with Dr. West. Renowned public philosopher Dr. Cornel West joins Jeremy to share his insight into the current cultural moment and efforts to remove the Classics from school curricula. He discusses his famous friendship with Princeton's Robert P. George and highlights the troubles that arise when friendships hinge only on ideological agreement, and how society is fractured by conversations halted due to cancel culture. He also shares his views on the #DisruptTexts movement by exploring the distinctions that separate an education rooted in deep intellectual and moral formation from modern-day "schooling," and examines why texts rich in terms of generating conversation are being lost to polarization. Dr. West also discusses his time studying with Hans-Georg Gadamer, and shines light on conceptions of tradition and the Greek idea of paedeia, and reflects on Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy in terms of love, justice, and courage. Send questions or comments to [email protected]

Host Jeremy Tate @JeremyTate41
Guest Dr. Cornel West @CornelWest 

Tyler Bonin:

Anchored is a production of the classic learning test based in Annapolis, Maryland, reconnecting knowledge and virtue, visit us at CLT exam.com. Hello, welcome back to the CLT offices. We're glad you're here. Today we're excited to have Dr. Cornel West, professor of the practice of public philosophy at Harvard University. If this is your first time joining us, I'd like to take a little bit of time to explain what anchored is. This is a program where our CEO Jeremy Tate engages in conversations with leading thinkers on topics at the intersection of education and culture. As always, we at CLT greatly appreciate your feedback. So please rate and review this episode and send any questions or comments to anchored at CLT exam.com. Today will be part one of our visit with Dr. West, part two we'll be releasing next week. Now without further ado, let's get on to the conversation.

Jeremy Tate:

Welcome back to Anchored, the official podcast of the Classic Learning Test. Today, we have a guest who needs no introduction, the one and only Dr. Cornel West. Dr. West, thanks so much for being here. Thanks for being on the program.

Cornel West:

Thank you, my dear brother. You know, I look forward to talking to you though I think you've been doing some very important work and trying to keep alive the grand legacies of Athens and Jerusalem and Paris and London and New York. And of course, we embrace every city around the world. But at this point, it's a matter of trying to hold on to excellence what the Greeks call padeia. And we'll say more about how that connects to the different critiques of injustice, critiques of exploitation, critiques of oppression that also tries to make sure that each and every one of us no matter who we are color, gender, national identity, that our lives can flower and flourish.

Jeremy Tate:

Dr. West we'd love to start off with the very beginning. I love to hear a bit about your early days, what kind of school you went to as a young boy and what drew you into the life of ideas?

Cornel West:

Well, I'm very much the second son of Clifton and Irene have never ever ever been a human being the thing they exemplified before my very eyes. I'm a product of Shiloh Baptist Church. So we were deeply tied to a Palestinian Jew named Jesus, fundamentally committed to a deep deep love of truth of stranger of neighbor and grew up on the chocolate side of Sacramento in the ghetto Glen elder for the first eight years and last two years, we moved over to a more integrated context in Southland Park Drive, but I started reading in the bookmobile they we didn't really have access to the main library. So they had a bookmobile and just fell in love with books learning language literacy, and mainly fell in love with Kierkegaard. I mean, serene Kierkegaard was my first real introduction to the Western European intellectual tradition. And I remain a kind of card carrying kierkegaardian with a blues twist, and a black sensibility to this very day, my brother,

Jeremy Tate:

what was it about Kierkegaard that captured your attention?

Cornel West:

intellectual honesty, in that last one last essays he wrote, how come honesty is not a Christian virtue? It's a wonderful essay that Rabbi Abraham, Joshua Heschel makes much much of in his last book, passion for truth. But But chickenguard like Nietzsche, he has an intellectual integrity, intellectual honesty that generates the kind of sense of being unsettled. You know, that wonderful phrase that Alfred North Whitehead engineers invented of ideas, noble discontent, noble discontent, is one of the great contributions of the legacies of Athens and Jerusalem, and Kierkegaard embodies that he's got a discontent, dissatisfaction, but a willingness to wrestle with his understanding of what it means to be human. Now he's deeply shaped by you know, this Danish context and European context and so on. And so he's not in conversation with the best of Africa the way we should the best of Asia the way we should, the best of Latin America the way we should, but he's in context, he's in conversation with the best of his context, and it is still a very rich one, and becomes for me, indispensable in any understanding of individuality, what it really means to be the unique singular creature that we are yearning and hungry for structures of meaning and structures, the feeling in order to be decent human beings before the worms get our bodies. He dies in his early 40s, as you know, but there's nobody like And he's Christian way I am. But I mean, you know, Nietzsche is not a Christian in that. I go to bed with Nietzsche to say where I go to bed. In a certain sense, I just end up with Christian conclusions. But the important thing is intellectual wrestling, the intellectual integrity, honesty, the intellectual conscience that your work represents.

Jeremy Tate:

Now, on our very first episode ever of anchored, we had your good friend, Dr. Robbie, Robbie P. George, as a guest, and he told this beautiful story of your friendship and how it came to be. Can you comment on that and yalls relationship?

Cornel West:

Yeah, you know, brother Rob, he is he's my very dear, dear brother, we've been brothers now for Oh, my God, almost 20 years going back to the Princeton years, as it were. But no, Rob is somebody who for me, I revel in his humanity. We have magnificent time together teaching courses on great books from Martin Luther King, Jr. to St. Augusta. And it's an example, though of something that ought to be commonplace, but these days is much too rare, which is the ways in which the love respect we have for each other is not reducible to ideological agreement. That very deep friendship and brotherhood is not reducible to just coming together on public policy. So we go at each other tooth and nail, he's a conservative brother. And I'm, I'm known to being a kind of, you know, leftist, I don't like categories. But I certainly consider myself on the left if you use that spectrum, which is commonplace these days. But we all have a lot in common that we have a fundamental commitment to civil liberties and Personal Liberty. So that kancil culture so that shutting people down so that for closing conversation, undercutting dialogue, is something that we fight intensely. And he he's got a concern about poverty, he's got much more market based concerns. I've got a deep concern about poverty, and I'm open to markets, but I think governments have they play a role in so we've got some, you know, struggles, same sex, marriage, abortion, we fight over these things. But we take a bullet for each other. You know, we were partners, we're friends, that deep, deep level and our families are as well. And so he's been a blessing in my life has been a joy in my life. And it's sad these days, so that, you know, the very fact that you can have such a close friend, brother, across political ideological lines makes you a rare couple completely. This is an odd couple. Have we reached that point where people make me look at look at Laskin, hyack LSE they broke bread every other day. Harold lasky leading democratic socialists, Frederick Hayek The Road to Serfdom, you know, Alaska is telling him, there's more than one Road to Serfdom. More than one row? Yes, you might be right about the centralized power when it comes to the public sphere. What about centralized power in the private sphere, Frederick, that could be a different kind of serfdom. Well, I see what you're saying, Harrell, let's continue with our tea and engage in our discussions and dialogues. I'm reading Ray Tani, and I'm also reading Edmund Burke, yes, they go hand in hand, Burke and hazlit go hand in hand. And Tani goes hand in hand with what Hi. So we're talking about cacophony of voices. And this is very important for any serious quest for truth, goodness, beauty. And for me as a Christian, for God, you've got to have that rope, but dialogue and it's got to be across cultures and civilizations. There's no doubt about that. But that's also deeply, deeply tied to the best the West, I mean, Toynbee himself. He's got over 20 civilizations, right? Yeah,

Jeremy Tate:

I'm curious to know is Has there ever been an instance that you can think of where maybe you have changed, Robbie's thinking or he's changed yours?

Cornel West:

Well, I think he's come closer to me is very much tied to the top mystic tradition of Thomas Aquinas. I think I've got some kierkegaardian elements now shot through his sensibility. And he's got me to appreciate Aquinas much more. I tell him, he has a kierkegaardian moment at the end of Aquinas, you remember, when Aquinas has this mystical experience and says, Oh my god, both sumos are nothing but straw light of this mystical experience. At the end, he talks about something about a project Creating a truth rather than just trying to understand it and form the propositions and argumentation. There's something deeper here. It's PascalI and it's character guardian. It's less Yes, Topham is a whole tradition of deeply, deeply religious folk. And in this sense Christians who are highly suspicious of just the word, the word is made flesh. What does that mean? We're made flesh. Well, john D. Hamilton, the host of others have told us that there's something that's so much deeper, more vital and vibrant than just any kind of dogma, doctrine or propositions and sentences in the kind of life that we live. And so Robbie, and I go back and forth. But Robbie's still got that Neo Aristotelian sensibility as the Catholic that he is, and I can appreciate that Aristotle's is is so rich, but like, you know, sometimes deeply wrong.

Jeremy Tate:

You know, as you're talking, I'm thinking about an image CS Lewis used to describe friendship, the friendship, you know, we're romantic love, the posture is looking at each other gazing into each other's eyes, the posture of friendship, is you're looking at something else, but you're looking at the same thing, something beautiful, and you're both saying, Wow, you see that too? For you? And brother George, is that is that the classics? And that's,

Cornel West:

that's a beautiful way of putting it though. That's a beautiful way of putting it. I think. I think that's, I think that's true. Now, remember, not a difference between talent and genius, though, where talent is, you're able to hit the bullseye that other people find it hard to hit talent is the ability to hit a bullseye that others can't see. And with Robbie, he and I, together, do help us see things we would not even see by ourselves cooperation in the dialogue that is so very, very rich. And in the end, this is you know, this is Henry James, this is Joseph Conrad, the end is to be able to see that teach us to see, you know, that wonderful line that Conrad has a Robert Louis Stevenson, where it says, any theory that disables us from seeing is not Chi. And I will say the same thing about any method, any framework, any paradigm. I mean, that's precisely what Chesterton understands orthodoxy to be, it's not a guarding of tradition, is teaching us to see things we would not see. But you have to have some, some grounds from which you see. So orthodox is just the ground from which you see the standard bedrock position that you take, but you're able to see things that others don't see. And therefore orthodoxy has a very subversive in the name. It has a dynamism. It has an unbelievable complexity to it. So it's not narrow tradition. It's the exact opposite. Justin says, and he's right about that.

Jeremy Tate:

He's writing about Orthodoxy is the one book I go back to and read almost over, you

Cornel West:

know what I'm talking about. Here. Oh, my God. Man, he's, uh, he's off to Chuck,

Jeremy Tate:

he really did. Doctor was here and CLT we have a reading culture and we're fighting to recover this vision for education that is not utilitarian. It seems that mainstream Ed has kind of been hijacked by this utilitarian philosophy that we just use education, rather than being formed and shaped by it. And as we were discussing your interview, and you coming on the show, we've been thinking about something you said, really heavy and profound, that the point of an education is to learn how to die or learn how to die. Well. What do you mean when you say this?

Cornel West:

Yeah, that is very coming right out of Plato philosophy itself as a meditation on our preparation for death, just physical death, but a form of death in which you radically call into question certain assumptions and presuppositions you have. And when you do that, when you let them go, it's a form of death in order for you to be able to live more intensely, more critically more compassionately, so that for Plato, you remember the Republic, the PI data, the deep education, its aim is the turning of the soul. And the turning of the soul is grounded in the formation of attention. You learn to attend to the things that matter away from the superficial thing. for him. It's from the world of becoming to the world of being, but any framework is one in which, for education, you've got to be able to attend to the things that matter. The moment they says, You can tell a person who they are in terms of what what they attend to. Very important. And you know, Tim Wu's new book on the attention merchant with the role of Mark commodification Modern technology trying to distract distraction by distraction for distraction, that wonderful line and Elliot, Elliot four quartets, to keep the distraction away rather than tended to the things that matter tied to the cultivation of a critical consciousness and the maturation of a loving soul. And so for me to learn how to die is grounded on those three pillars, the three pillars of fidelity, for what, for the turning of a soul, now, but it's not indoctrination, so that you know, it's not the turning of the soul to my views. You know, revolutionary Christian legacy, Martin Luther King, Jr, Dorothy Day, and so forth. Because the end and aim is for people to really follow the anthem of black people, which is lift every voice was to find your voice, not an echo, say lift every Echo, that's not the songs. It's always lift every voice and you're gonna be a jazz man or one of blues woman, you got to find your voice, not your Echo, you're not a copy, not imitation of others. But you can't find your voice without being grounded in tradition, grounded in legacies, grounded in heritage. You see this brother right here, on ski or God that he was in for a whole year in 1975, his book, truth and method published in 1960s, one of the great classics of 20th century philosophy, and he taught us traditions are inescapable and unavoidable question not, whether you're going to work in a tradition is which one? Well, I have no tradition at all, well, that's the tradition of the new, it's gonna be thing gonna be very, very thin, and you're gonna deceive yourself, you'll be using a language that you didn't create, you're gonna be using frameworks you didn't create, there's always antecedent conditions, and circumstances under which we all come to terms. And this is this is what God was trying to get us to understand, in order to be more innovative, and creative. But guardamar also comes out of a legacy of Jerusalem, which is not just argumentation. But it's a life lived just like the conclusion of a practical Aristotelian syllogism. He made what Aristotle says is the conclusion, not a proposition, action, be life live, or what these days people call practice our practices in the Marxist tradition.

Jeremy Tate:

For instance, Martin Luther King, Jr. A minute ago, and of course, we're recording this episode with you on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. And we actually started off this morning as a company reading his last sermon that he gave on April 3 1968. And it was really powerful, actually, he it's full of these references to Ancient Greece, in Athens and Plato and Aristotle and europese. And, and, and then, of course, the next day, he's assassinated. But what has MLK meant to you in your own scholarship and in your own ministry in the world,

Cornel West:

view each and every person as someone made an image of God who's fallible and finite and, and fallen. So he's a great crack vessel who constitutes a wave and a great ocean of a tradition of a people who have been hated for 400 years, and yet dished out love. terrorized for 400 years and still dish out. Freedom Fighters traumatized for 400 years with this out wounded healers rather than wounded herders. That's a choice you make. It's not a function of skin pigmentation, it's a human choice to be made. Manas king jr, decided to be a lowboy, he decided to be a freedom fighter, he decided to be a wounded healer, in light of his understanding of his calling. And you all know those two great essays, Max vabre on vocation 1917 to 1919 science as vocation politics, as vocation, he had a particular vocation and calling that was tied to this love, this freedom, this healing. And he, he sets a high standard. I mean, he, you know, he's like, he's like Homer. He's like, good. He's like Dante. He's like, Nietzsche, anybody in the great tradition of the West, these are levels of standards of excellence. And the excellence is not in terms of just being smart. No, it's in terms of putting their whole self in their thinking and living trying to wrestle with what it means to be human and passing it on to the next generation.

Jeremy Tate:

Dr. West, recently, we had on the program, Megan Cox gurdon, from the Wall Street Journal, and she wrote an editorial discussing this disrupt text movement that we were talking about before the program which is gaining ton of traction. This movement is described itself as a crowdsource grassroots effort by teachers, for teachers to challenge the traditional canon in order to create a more inclusive, representative and equitable language arts curriculum. Teachers in this movement, had a Massachusetts School, remove Homer's Odyssey from the curriculum. No, certainly efforts to bring literature that is more representative is certainly worthwhile. But to what degree is a wholesale exclusion of the works of the Western canon, maybe misguided?

Cornel West:

I mean, it's a sign of the spiritual decay, and the moral decline, and the very deep intellectual, and narrowness that is running a foot and a muck in the culture. You see, we have to draw a distinction between Western civilization, Western philosophy and Western crimes. The crimes go hand in hand with certain philosophies. Not all of them, certain elements of the civilization, not all of them, the same Western civilization, the same Western philosophies that could produce a Karl Marx, for example, or a CLR, James lewis is coming out of the care of being deeply marked as black, beautiful in his own way, but knowing that he's part of the legacy, his great work on Herman Melville. Another example in this regard, you see, so But what has happened, though, rather, sadly, is that the crimes have become so central in terms of conceptions of the West, that it's hard to keep track of the best of the West. You see, instead, that's why we have to be vigilant, we have to be very, very intentional and deliberate. In this distinction, Lorraine Hansberry and one of the great playwrights and literary artists in America, born Southside of Chicago, she used to give these lectures on Western crimes versus Western ideals.

Jeremy Tate:

When I when I first told you, for this particular story of the massachusetts school, banning the Odyssey, you, you physically kind of went seems like you, you don't like this move.

Cornel West:

But it's just so sad, though. You know, it's like, you want to be a jazz musician, and you want to ban Louis Armstrong, it makes you? Why would you disarm yourself like that? I mean, Homer himself, not just in his own work. And as you know, the controversy of whether he wrote a monster combination, its oral tradition, and so forth, of Perry and others, going all the way back to the early part of 20th century in the scholarship. But the texts that we have the Iliad, the Odyssey, they are not just foundational, but they provide such profound understandings of what it is to live in a world of the survival of the strongest, the slickest, and conceptions of what it means to be a person at a heroic level, and then require critique. But it's so rich in terms of generating conversation. And of course, there's no player without home. I mean, so much of Plato's whole project, is to displace Homer. So that when you're talking about home, you're not just talking about one individual or one figure, you're talking about a whole rich tradition of conversation. If Homer drops out, does that mean that when Plato is calling into question home as a source of pride, they're looking for the new discourse called philosophy and you end up with the beginnings of philosophy in the West, is that to be pushed aside to because you can't get to that without dealing with Homer? Because Homer re object of the critique, and Homer is always there, he never goes away. That's that traditional quarrel between philosophy and poetry, 605, b, 607, B five, and that last book of Republic, right, that traditional core of philosophy and poetry, that the very center of some of the most powerful reflections on what it means to be human in the West, that has implications for those outside of the West, in Africa, in Asia and others, because why? Because they are conversant with played out, you don't have to be Greek to be converse with Plato grew up in Uganda, and be deeply moved by Plato and grow up in South Africa, and those tsp will blow your mind. The same is true you grow up in Moscow and have Nelson Mandela example blow your mind. You grow up in in Tokyo Having googie blow your mind. It's a human affair. It's humanistic all the way down. But we have to acknowledge that. You know, the hypocrisy of any civilization hypocrisy of any Empire can can discourage people from making the distinction between the crimes and the ideals. And there's been so much hypocrisy in the West, that people want to highlight just the hypocrisy in the crimes and throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Jeremy Tate:

Now, Dr. Wise, I'd love for you to speak about how we got to this point. You know, when I'm when I'm looking at these conversations on Twitter, you know that the teachers were not just approving of canceling the Odyssey. They were downright giddy. They were thrilled. They felt like they had made it an accomplishment. Where are we when mainstream educators at publicly funded schools are celebrating when we band as you describe that, you know, one of the most central epics? Well, you know, when I talked

Cornel West:

about spiritual decay, and the more decline in the intellectual narrowness, I'm really talking about the ways in which Manichaean views of the world proliferate. When you deny complexity, humanity, nuance, ambiguity. And part of the problem in the United States, even though it's now internationalized is that we've got this addiction to innocent. You see, you think that somehow you're innocent and see, anytime you make an appeal to innocence, you're on your way to a mannequin view of the world by mannequin, what I mean is, all the goods on one side, all the bad is on the other side, you're on the good side, you can do no wrong, which means you don't take any responsibility, which means you live in a state of denial. And it's you know, America edits worse, you know, we are a civilization that has grown powerful and rich without growing up, as Peter Pan like is Disneyland like. And what's distinctive about being childish, as opposed to childlike, childlike, is very important. On wonder, childish, what probably was difficult from Peter Pan Miss sensibility is the Manichaean view. And so what happens is you get these educators who want to be on the right side, you want to be on the pure side, you want to be on the good side. And that means for them, siding with the folk, who rightly are talking about Western crimes, who rightly are talking about Western hypocrisy, but wrongly believe that the alternative is to ban any connection with the crimes of ban in connection with the hypocrisy. You said, well, what's left, because if if, once you make the move, that somehow you are pure, then either everybody's pure, or everybody's so tainted, that you can't move forward. You're paralyzed, you're debilitated. You're discombobulated. And if there's anything that we learn from, you know, the Shakespeare's and the Chekhov's is that in the face of an unflinching candidness about evil or grimness of darkness, you still must have the courage to engage in the quest for truth and beauty and goodness, you persevere and endure. In the midst of the ambiguity, the uncertainty, the nuance of what Samuel Beckett call the mass, the mess to be in space and time as being the mess I call it just being in the funk. But that's a different, different language of talking about our humanity always tied to what Keith would call negative capability. What does it mean to be in the midst of doubts and uncertainties without any airtable reaching after fact, the reason? That's the that's the great genius after Shakespeare, English language and poetry in his 20s, right, 25. But that's a very difficult condition to be in, you can't be at a lesson. You can't be childish. And you can't be Peter Pan to be a negative capability.

Jeremy Tate:

You had this education for adults, you gotta grow up. I'm interested to see how you would kind of interpret how a crisis in education, maybe had some impact on the crisis that we all experienced in 2020. I think there's this kind of weird combination of pandemic isolation. And then we combine that with with what happened in Minnesota with George Floyd and the civil unrest after that is the current tensions is the current civil unrest Is it connected to a crisis in education? Can the classics help to give us a renewed round of unity?

Cornel West:

Well, I think our crisis is so deep because we've got it, you know, ecological catastrophe, we got a possible nuclear catastrophe we've got. We've got ecological and economic catastrophe and a political catastrophe in terms of leadership. But in the end, it's fundamentally a spiritual catastrophe. You see, so it's not just that, you know, it's a nice thing to read the classics because they will blow your mind. No, our crisis is so profound, that we've got to mobilize all of the spiritual, intellectual moral resources we can to create the kind of human beings have courage and vision and civic virtue in order to respond to the crisis. And there's the connection between the massive failure of of schooling, I don't even call it education, in some ways, just schooling, you know, it's just acquisition of skills, acquisition of certain labels acquisition of certain jargon. Because education, going back to what we said before, it's Pi Day, right? It's a transformative process, that attention and maturation and cultivation. And when you have that input, then you've got spiritually intact, morally equipped human beings. And that's at a different level. That's that's a very, very different levels. And with the prevalence of the greed, you know, and the contempt the arrogance, the indifference, the callousness, you end up with very much where we are today. Inability to have trust of each other, the unbelievable contempt that so many of our fellow citizens have for elites, because the elites associated with certain liberalism and neoliberalism has been so hypocritical and so arrogant and condescending, Visa v ordinary people, obsessed with money, obsessed with status, obsessed with spectacle, all of those are spiritually thin and morally empty, and yet they become pervasive. So the here Here comes, no, here comes home, here comes Dante, here comes Shakespeare, here comes flowback, here comes dickins, here comes Tony monster, here comes on, Rusty, and so forth, and so on. Right? These folks are coming along, saying what? Well, we've got some difficult questions that don't fit into this Manichaean framework that is so deeply upsetting you that you're gonna have to learn how to die in order to learn how to live, not learn how to die is going to be a difficult thing. It's not mechanical. It's not, it's not algorithm to put something on the line, your conception of who you are, you had to unsettle yourself, you're gonna have to have those wonderful experiences of intellectual vertigo.

Jeremy Tate:

Yeah, I spent four years in a Protestant seminary and one of my one of my great takeaways was just how, how different education was for almost any other generation, going back to the great Greek fathers and maybe even ancient Judaism, that it was always exactly the way you're describing that the whole point was that it was formative. That it was supposed I think the way Frederick Douglass describes it as the purpose of education is liberation, its transformation. Its freedom, in the truth that the view of education is completely unfamiliar to, you know, the the majority of mainstream educators right now. I've had conversations like this with friends in public schools are like that, that all sounds strange. And new. Mays education is it is it? Is it beyond recovery? What do you what do you recommend to parents listening to this podcast that want to give their kids the best education?

Cornel West:

Or you you want to tell them that? You know, there's something in the tradition that has shaped them, that tilt them toward what William James called a habitual vision of greatness. And that you want your children not simply to be highly successful in terms of doing well, but you want them to be great. And spiritual and moral greatness are not the same as financial success at all. And in the end, there is a joy as well as anguish, in that habitual vision of greatness. That is very different than the titillation and stimulation that goes with being highly successful financially. prosperous, and so forth and so on. And it takes us right back where we began. It has something to do with that fundamental, terrifying question of wrestling with what it means to be human. What it means to be human, you see. And each and every one of us, you know what our children, we want them to be the best that they can be in light of their uniqueness and singularity in the finding of their voices, but we want them to be great. And greatness has nothing to do in the end. With just Alexander the Great, no, that's about conquering, we tell him about Pi Day We tell my education, we tell my Socrates, Socrates versus Alexander the Great, huh? Jesus versus gang gang, it's calling Napoleon. And an interesting, interesting model is the King Jr. Versus the head of the Pentagon, some grand military, general or whatever it is, you see. And that itself, you know, opens a conversation because there's, there's a role for Alexander in history. But why? Because most of human history is what he was about. It's about domination, conquering, it's about subordinating people. It's about power, power power. We can't escape that that very much what human history has been, but here comes Homer and company saying,

Jeremy Tate:

oh, what

Cornel West:

are you gonna do to tears of Achilles? What about that friendship?

Tyler Bonin:

Oh, what

Cornel West:

about Prem? What is his relation to Prem? Oh, something else is going on? And just power

Jeremy Tate:

power power?

Cornel West:

Here comes Plato, Socrates, tell blucon glucomannan diamond, just that younger generation, white reciprocates is wrong. Mike doesn't make right. Greed is not good. Power to define reality. Socrates, please tell us well, I'm not sure I got time. Please, please take your time Socrates, respond to the reset, because given all of his intensity, and given all of his unbelievable energy, okay, let me tell you why. Alexander degree is not the sole model. Let me tell you why even our Chile's doesn't go far enough. There's a conception of greatness, that has to do with intellectual integrity. Let me show you how this operates, show you how this can be done. Follow my argumentation. And of course, it's in the form of poetic prose. When he's banning most of the poets. It's in poetic prose itself. So things get complicated here, oh, he loves poetry. He's writing poetry, but he sees the power of poetry disruptive of the hierarchical society he wants. That's part of the conversation too. And so in that way, I think the parents themselves would say, you know, even when you're talking about your kids, being x and y, talking about YouTube, you're not a spectator. You are a participant in this formation of your soul. You are a participant in this attempt to be a certain kind of human being before the worms get you and not to decide is to decide, can't be a spectator.

Tyler Bonin:

Thanks for listening. Please subscribe. And if you enjoyed this episode, feel free to share with friends and colleagues. Please join us next week for part two of this conversation with Dr. Cornel West. CLT: reconnecting knowledge and virtue.