Monday, March 29, 2010

87 / Gramsci

Antonio Gramsci was a Communist Party intellectual, a contemporary of Lenin and Trotsky. Nowadays, it would be unusual for anyone but an academic to study his voluminous writings. However, one of his famous sayings is frequently recited:
Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.
This phrase has contemporary resonance because it pretty accurately interprets our human situation at the present time ("pessimism of the intellect" - in other words, we're in deep trouble), while it endorses what one former Presidential candidate called the "Politics of Hope." I do believe that we can make, and remake, the human world we most immediately inhabit ("optimism of the will" - in other words, true change is always possible). We don't, however, have much time left ("pessimism of the intellect"), and we'd better start doing something, instead of just thinking about it ("optimism of the will").

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