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Preach On, Cornel West

May 19, 2013

“In the American way of life, pleasure involves comfort, convenience, and sexual stimulation. Pleasure, so defined, has little to do with the past and views the future as no more than a repetition of a hedonistically driven present. This market morality stigmatizes others as objects for personal pleasure or bodily stimulation. Conservative behaviorists have alleged that traditional morality has been undermined by radical feminists and the cultural radicals of the sixties. But it is clear that corporate market institutions have greatly contributed to undermining traditional morality in order to stay in business and make a profit. The reduction of individuals to objects of pleasure is especially evident in the culture industries–television, radio, video, music–in which gestures of sexual foreplay and orgiastic pleasure flood the marketplace.” (Race Matters, 26)

“Like alcoholism and drug addiction, nihilism is the disease of the soul…Nihilism is not overcome by arguments or analyses; it is tames by love and care. Any disease of the soul must be conquered by a turning of one’s soul.” (Race Matters, 29)

(Note: West is referring to nihilism more as an emotional state than a philosophical system, but I think the quote is still helpful, knowing that philosophical systems are themselves inspired by emotional states.)

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