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Cultura Animi

What Went Wrong With the West

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This fourth edition of Cultura Animi explores the key question: why is so much going wrong with the West? Why are we facing the many crises which culminate in this new age of anxiety? The answer to that question can be expressed in one single word: betrayal. With profound knowledge and well-argued, James Hankins explores the how and why of our betrayal of humanistic education, Kate Brown writes on our betrayal of Mother Nature, and in their correspondence Mary Trump and Rob Riemen explore the betrayal of the ‘American Promises’. Lessons of history learned, this edition of Cultura Animi is a call to accept our responsibilities to meet the challenges of our time.

 

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Index

Against the False Humanists: Petrarch Speaks Out

One night, James Hankins was reading the love poetry of Petrarch’s Canzoniere before going to bed. Still sitting in his chair, he falls into a light sleep and then he meets the great poet Petrach himself. Together they discuss the present state of education, the humanities and society in general.

But there are aspects of your time I really do hate. I do think that the human soul — the soul your humanists no longer believe in — has become narrow and impoverished. It lacks the sustenance of tradition and no longer dreams of performing great and noble deeds. It is no longer raised to sublime heights of contemplation. It suffers guilt and shame but no longer knows how to feel forgiveness, mercy, gratitude, and loyalty. It no longer knows what honour is.

Kiss the Ground: Life Support in Controlled Environments

Anxiety runs as a strong electrical current through twenty-first century society. And no wonder. Humans in the Anthropocene are located in Biosphere-1, a closed, controlled environment with limited resources, struggling in many different ways to breathe.

Anxiety runs as a strong electrical current through twenty-first century society. And no wonder. Humans in the Anthropocene are located in Biosphere-1, a closed, controlled environment with limited resources, struggling in many different ways to breathe.

A Correspondence

In this correspondence, Mary Trump and Rob Riemen explore the betrayal of the ‘American Promises’.

How does a person become a demagogue? And why? Why would anybody want to seduce and mislead people with lies and play to their most primitive instincts? A demagogue can never be successful without a society that is receptive to their demagoguery, which raises the question: Why is such a large part of American society so receptive to the demagoguery of your uncle?

Thirty Years Nexus: A Tribute

Michael Ignatieff has been a friend and guest of Nexus since the early days of the institute. He delivered this speech at the celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of Nexus, on the seventh of September 2021 in Amsterdam.

An idea like Nexus is an ideal we never quite live up to, but it is essential to have intellectual ideals. There is no gathering quite like Nexus: elitist yet democratic, ambitious yet colloquial, available to all, yet speaking in a cultural register all its own. Nexus has come far in thirty years. It has a reputation around the world and has been faithful to what Amsterdam has been since Descartes, since Spinoza, a home for free minds.