Recently by Nicholas Cannariato:

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When revolt has no object, it turns on itself, opposing all imagined foes in wanton destruction of imagined barriers. Most apparently since the advent of Romanticism in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, revolt has often been focused on an object considered in more personal terms — the introspective rebel pitched against disinterested systems and in search of a soul divested of the stain of acquisition, the taint of the tangible. Yet, sometimes, all the rebel finds is empty space where identity used to dwell. And this is where we find ourselves in the West today, with open, democratic societies in the grip of revolt against rationalism and its accompanying pluralism.

Pankaj Mishra, in Age of Anger, asserts that Rousseau, a scion of Enlightenment thinking and one of its chief antagonists, saw the danger of shunting the religious, the provincial, and the irrational to the margins and the shadows. Rousseau asserted, after all, that social injustice originates not with the individual but with the existence of institutions. Despite this warning, more repressive forms of nationalism took shape and grew ominously over the next two centuries, culminating in Nazi and Soviet forms of totalitarianism. More… “The Blind Owl and the Underground Man”

Nicholas Cannariato is a writer and teacher living in Chicago.

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Few have ever witnessed the dehumanizing potential of mass society so up close as Bruno Bettelheim. After internment at Dachau and Buchenwald, Bettelheim came to America, where he served as director of the Orthogenic School at the University of Chicago from 1944 to 1973. There, he practiced what might be best described as a humanistic form of psychoanalytic theory. His approach was profoundly influenced by his experience of the camps, and, because of this, he went on to view his students — most living with either autism or prior emotional trauma — as struggling to develop an authentic sense of self in balance with an authentic sense of community. It’s important to note too that “authentic” here means what is emotionally and psychologically sustainable, derived from profound consideration of one’s self and one’s community. Many who were closest to Bettelheim in his decades at the school speak of his steadfast dedication to the regeneration of his young students, but, it should be noted, considerable controversy has mounted on this subject (and his reputation in general) since his death. More… “You, Me, and Everyone Else”

Nicholas Cannariato is a writer and teacher living in Chicago.

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