Each ought to develop into a fully articulated rambling at some point, or at least that’s my goal. Someday, anyways. For the present, I’ll be glad to post the links here with a threadbare summary:
Both are worth reading, what I liked about the Sociological Images/Tim Wise (who I in general hold in high esteem) one was the concept of responsibility and how it ties in with living an ethical life, since as tautological as the statement is, it is nonetheless worth repeating: “We’re the only hope we have.” I also liked the comparisons he drew to the legacy of racism as analogous to that of the current state of the planet or a company in debt, I feel like those are powerful examples that could maybe drive the point home to someone who isn’t inclined to think about the issue. Which is easy to do if you feel like you can’t relate to it, but as history is wont to do, those who don’t know it are doomed to repeat it. Or in other words, you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you came from.
As for the Nihilism one, I was fond of this quote:
The meaning that one finds in a life dedicated to “the wife, the heart, the bed, the table, the saddle, the fire-side, the country,” these are genuine meanings. They are, in other words, completely sufficient to hold off the threat of nihilism, the threat that life will dissolve into a sequence of meaningless events. But they are nothing like the kind of universal meanings for which the monotheistic tradition of Christianity had hoped. Indeed, when taken up in the appropriate way, the commitments that animate the meanings in one person’s life ─ to family, say, or work, or country, or even local religious community ─ become completely consistent with the possibility that someone else with radically different commitments might nevertheless be living in a way that deserves one’s admiration.
It’s always the ethics of the matter that get to me, and indeed bring me to what is probably the first rule of my own basic approach to life: love, live and let live. Everyone’s trying to figure life out, and ultimately the answers I come up for myself are what works for me. There’s no guarantee they’ll work for anyone else, nor any reason why they should be expected to be applicable to all. Just as long as I pursue what is “right” for me, I’ll be fine.