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Prescience

February 20, 2018

 

Great writers have continued relevance and prescience. But then, maybe not much has really changed since 1963:

 

"Behind what we think of as the Russian menace lies what we do no wish to face, and what white Americans do not face when they read a Negro reality- the fact that life is tragic. Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death--ought to decide, indeed, to earn one's death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible for life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return. One must negotiate this passage as nobly as possible, for the sake of those who are coming after us. But white Americans do no believe in death..."

 

 
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

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