HOPE: Human Odyssey to Political Existentialism

HOPE: Human Odyssey to Political Existentialism


[cosmic whooshing]>>In a world where people go about their daily
lives, having fun, and seeking passing pleasures… one professor is on a mission:
to destroy humanity’s happiness.>>Now, that’s unfair! I’ve got nothing against happiness (I think…) I just want to show that “life, liberty
and the pursuit of happiness” don’t really capture the human condition, and that realizing humanity is much more about
“death, freedom and the pursuit of meaning.”>>Featuring depressing themes like human nature,
identity and authenticity, freedom and bad faith, reflection,
dread and death, meaning making, truth, morality, and the death of God,
this course…>>But we also discuss happiness, and love!>>Yes, love and alienation. In this most depressing course,
Professor Gloom and Doom…>>Seriously? Professor Gloom and Doom? I’m telling you, it’s really quite optimistic,
even life-affirming. If this course has any superpower, it’s
the human, not superhuman, capacity —I would say duty— to ask why. Why breathe? Why breed? Why should we stay alive, and create new lives? Really, you should have called me Super Why!>>After years of pointless labor,
without even wearing a lab coat, Professor Gloom and Doom
finally reached a dead end, pursuing questions
without scientific answers.>>Wait just a second; look now,
isn’t science a sense of wonder, exploring the great mysteries of the universe? Here we go after the biggest mystery of all:
what sets us apart, and brings us together, as humans–and how we can live up
to our humanity. What can be more important? The homo sapience is the third big bang, after
the emergence of the universe, and then of life. Nothing teaches us more about ourselves than
the different ways we’ve been grappling with our distinct humanity.>>Tragedy looms, as Professor
Gloom and Doom forgets to ask the most important academic question: who cares?>>I care! And you should too. These existential puzzles, the broken answers,
they all matter, not just because they can bring
out the best in us (or the worst in us), but because they are not merely individual musings. In this course we’ll also see how deeply
and widely politics can be existential, how hope, private and public, depends on engaging,
head on, these hard and heavy problems.>>Overburdened by the enormous weight
of his constant questioning, Professor Gloom and Doom dies lonely and alone…>>Well, hold on, we’re all gonna die. You too! Meanwhile, why not make it slightly easier
on each other, not to mention more interesting, and go on this journey together…
an odyssey to the heart of humanity, and to how we can make it —and us— better. It’s an open invitation, and you’re all
welcome. Look, I promise you, there will be fun,
and occasionally pizza!>>Well, if you put it that way…

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