When studying for my undergraduate degree, I once had a discussion with a lecturer about whether he was optimistic for the future. Whether or not the ideas we discussed in class would ever come to fruition. His response: “it depends what day of the week you catch me on”. Surely, what it comes down to, I replied, is a race between how many people we can reach with our ideas about humanism, justice, equality, and democracy – basically an alternative way of organising ourselves and our communities – and how long we have before it’s too late; before one of the myriad existential crises on the horizon engulfs and overwhelms us. Basically, before the lights go out.
But clearly there’s a double meaning. The light being extinguished could also be our own lives. Before that happens, we should seek to understand something about the world beyond the superficial. To connect, as C. Wright Mills once wrote, “personal troubles to public issues”, and thereby cultivate a sociological imagination. Many movements for radical societal change suffer from what might be called a collective amnesia – a lack of awareness of the very history of the project being undertaken.
There are many reasons why this happens. Our content will inevitably touch on many of them. However, one particular reason is the phoney academic division of labour which discourages us from developing a holistic worldview. Facts have never been enough. We need a system of understanding.
This blog, and the pending YouTube Channel, are both devoted to developing that educative project. Whilst the YouTube Channel will discuss issues at an introductory level, the blog will contain more academic material for those seeking further study. It will also contain the scripts for each YouTube video.