The Ethic of Authenticity: Good, Bad or Both? Charles Taylor (Malaise 2-Audio)

In this podcast I discuss the modern idea authenticity as developed in chapters 2 and 3 of Charles Taylor’s “The Malaise of Modernity” (CBC Massey Lecture Series, 1991). Taylor thinks that the ethic of authenticity is separable from the moral relativism, emotivism and narcissism with which it is associated by authors like Allan Bloom and Christopher Lasch, and that it holds promise as a modern moral ideal if we can do so. In these two chapters he begins to excavate why American (including Canadian, though probably less so) culture took a turn into flabby relativism and narcissism and how we might excavate the original meaning of authenticity to see if it holds true promise. To that end, he discusses its Romantic origins in the ideas of Rousseau and Herder. Along the way, I relate some of Taylor’s ideas the work of Isaiah Berlin and Leo Strauss. … More The Ethic of Authenticity: Good, Bad or Both? Charles Taylor (Malaise 2-Audio)

The Ethic of Authenticity: Good, Bad or Both? Charles Taylor (Malaise 2-Video)

In this video I discuss the modern idea authenticity as developed in chapters 2 and 3 of Charles Taylor’s “The Malaise of Modernity” (CBC Massey Lecture Series, 1991). Taylor thinks that the ethic of authenticity is separable from the moral relativism, emotivism and narcissism with which it is associated by authors like Allan Bloom and Christopher Lasch, and that it holds promise as a modern moral ideal if we can do so. In these two chapters he begins to excavate why American (including Canadian, though probably less so) culture took a turn into flabby relativism and narcissism and how we might excavate the original meaning of authenticity to see if it holds true promise. To that end, he discusses its Romantic origins in the ideas of Rousseau and Herder. Along the way, I relate some of Taylor’s ideas the work of Isaiah Berlin and Leo Strauss. … More The Ethic of Authenticity: Good, Bad or Both? Charles Taylor (Malaise 2-Video)

Need a Nanny? Lasch on Narcissistic Education and Parenting (5-Audio)

This video deals with Chapters 6 and 7 in Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism. While Lasch is critical both of how Americans teach their youth and how they parent, he doesn’t place all the blame on schools, teachers and parents. Rather, it’s the overly specialized bureaucratic capitalist system that necessitates a particular kind of education, the kind that puts out docile worker bees, and an absentee and guilt-ridden parenting that gives authority over to the child raising expert apparatus of the state and the economy. Everyone involved gets paid, if badly, but no one does a particularly good job. … More Need a Nanny? Lasch on Narcissistic Education and Parenting (5-Audio)

Need a Nanny? Christopher Lasch on Narcissistic Education and Parenting (5-Video)

This video deals with Chapters 6 and 7 in Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism. While Lasch is critical both of how Americans teach their youth and how they parent, he doesn’t place all the blame on schools, teachers and parents. Rather, it’s the overly specialized bureaucratic capitalist system that necessitates a particular kind of education, the kind that puts out docile worker bees, and an absentee and guilt-ridden parenting that gives authority over to the child raising expert apparatus of the state and the economy. Everyone involved gets paid, if badly, but no one does a particularly good job. … More Need a Nanny? Christopher Lasch on Narcissistic Education and Parenting (5-Video)

Christopher Lasch on Sports (4-Audio)

Christopher Lasch wrote a chapter in The Culture of Narcissism on the state of American sports. He thought that spectator sports like football and baseball served a special social/cultural function that was being undermined by two things: the tendency to turn sporting events into spectacles attracting fans with little interest in the actual sport, and the use of sporting events to promote nationalist political ideology more than appreciation for the game. He faced critics of sport who were arguing that spectator sports needed to be downplayed in favor of sporting events that involved more people at more levels of ability. Lasch’s reasons for defending a purer appreciation of professional sports is interesting–such events are an activity that should fall squarely in the realm of play, in a world in which too much of our time is managed and channeled into “safe and productive” activities, even when we are not at work. Lasch’s defense of the zone of play is an interesting takeaway from his chapter on sports in The Culture of Narcissism. … More Christopher Lasch on Sports (4-Audio)

Christopher Lasch on Sports (4-video)

Christopher Lasch wrote a chapter in The Culture of Narcissism on the state of American sports. He thought that spectator sports like football and baseball served a special social/cultural function that was being undermined by two things: the tendency to turn sporting events into spectacles attracting fans with little interest in the actual sport, and the use of sporting events to promote nationalist political ideology more than appreciation for the game. He faced critics of sport who were arguing that spectator sports needed to be downplayed in favor of sporting events that involved more people at more levels of ability. Lasch’s reasons for defending a purer appreciation of professional sports is interesting–such events are an activity that should fall squarely in the realm of play, in a world in which too much of our time is managed and channeled into “safe and productive” activities, even when we are not at work. Lasch’s defense of the zone of play is an interesting takeaway from his chapter on sports in The Culture of Narcissism. … More Christopher Lasch on Sports (4-video)

Costco Karens: The Laschian Response (4-Audio)

Our current situation demonstrates the extremes of what Christopher Lasch leaned into in his book The Culture of Narcissism. How did we get here? Lasch’s answers take us deeper than the typical observations of the day, which mainly dwell at the surface. In this video, which primarily deals with ideas from chapter 4 of Lasch’s book, we find an explanation for the loose hold many people have on the truth, the deep skepticism about facts, which leads to the childish acting out that we are seeing more and more of, as well as the more serious expression of discontent of protest and riot. Lasch’s views here are not all of even his answer, let along THE answer, as to how we got here, but they deal with one dimension of it that is often overlooked–our often meaningless and unthinking work and our highly “mediated” selves. … More Costco Karens: The Laschian Response (4-Audio)