Monday, May 4, 2020

#125 / Balm Of The Moment

David Remnick (pictured) is the editor of The New Yorker. I regard The New Yorker as an important source of information about virtually everything that is of significance in the contemporary United States. The magazine also does a pretty good job of alerting its readers to important thinking and events from around the globe. It also has great cartoons. The New Yorker arrives in my mailbox every Thursday, and you can get access to it online (and I think, for the most part, without having to subscribe, though I am not absolutely certain of that, since I do subscribe). 

In the April 20, 2020, issue, the cover of which can be seen at the bottom of this blog posting, Remnick wrote a comment in "The Talk Of The Town" section of the magazine, which always comes at the beginning. The title of Remnick's comment was, "The Politics Of The Virus." Online, the title is different - "The Preëxisting Condition In The Oval Office." 

In his comment, Remnick used a phrase that I have often deployed in these blog postings, a phrase that I think states one of the most important things we need to know about living in a political community: 

We are in this together

Human beings, and perhaps Americans in particular, are used to thinking that what is most important in life is our own individual existence. And, of course, that IS important. Everything that exists in our human world, and everything that ever will, begins in the mind and heart of an individual human being. 

We are not, however, simply a collection of individuals. We are, as Reminick says, "in this together." Here are the last two sentences of Remnick's comment. He calls this understanding of our radical interdependence the "balm of the moment." And so it is. If "hell" is other people (as according to Sartre), "heaven" can be glimpsed in the faces and forms of the other persons with whom we are so lucky to live, and move, and have our being: 

We are in this together: that is the phrase, the balm, of the moment. But it is more than a cliché. It should be the spirit and the foundation of our national politics, starting with the election in November.

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