Yesterday, I wrote about the concept of energetic pessimism. Today I want to keep exploring this idea. To do this, I want to look at the author's description of her energetic pessimism. (This is different than the author's description of Julia Kristeva's energetic pessimism.)
My own “energetic pessimism” has increased tenfold since I started this project. I have been shocked by the spiraling crisis in the viability of democratic philosophy, the dangerous expansion of an often surreal atmosphere of post-factuality, the enthusiastic embrace by millions of populist ideologies that frequently include appeals to violent extremism, the escalation of authoritarian nationalism and identity paranoia with its attendant racism, sexism, and homophobia, and the truly head-spinning election of Donald Trump—not to mention the global emergency, and delusional denial, of ecological collapse and climate chaos. Closer to home, as someone who has labored at the heart of the academy for decades, I have been appalled by attacks from multiple special interest perspectives on progressive intellectuals, on the arts and humanities and, indeed, on all ethical pursuits of knowledge that are not immediately marketable. My concurrent loss of faith in the capacity of progressive academics to change the university from within has brought me face to face with my now truly outlived idealism.
What I think is essential in this text is that it is a litany of problems in the world today and an admission that the old ways of opposing within the university are no longer effective. This leads to pessimism. Be that as it may, it also creates an energetic desire to continue to oppose the continuation of the destruction.
It is odd, eh? That the pessimism kind of fuels the energy/desire.