German(e) encounters with global crisis
Deconstructing society and reconstructing spirituality
German philosophers and political thinkers of the last century – Jaspers, Arendt and Strauss prominent among them – express shared frustration with the modern situation and candid assessments of its dangers. Jaspers reflects on the atomic age and the modern dissolution of values; Arendt criticizes the bureaucratic machinery of modern society as anti-political; and Strauss expresses distrust of modern logics of science and history as tending towards historical forgetfulness. In this paper, I examine the formative effects of these tendencies in relation to emotional and epistemic considerations of identity and the social and cultural relations which frame them. I argue that, in their audacity to engage with modern crisis in global terms, Jaspers, Arendt and Strauss provide thoughtful perspectives on a thoughtless age, perspectives not only German but germane.
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