Brian Jones (PhD candidate, University of St. Thomas, TX) delivers a thoughtful lecture on how the practice of philosophy in our time of loneliness can sustain and elevate us throughout the present crisis and the threat it poses to the world. Jones draws on the thought of Alexis De Tocqueville, Byung-Chul Han, James V. Schall, and many others. You may now listen to the full lecture below—and if you enjoy, please consider donating to the Lyceum! Your donations allow us to continue supporting academics like Mr. Jones in their pursuit and promulgation of the good and true.
ABSTRACT: The COVID-19 pandemic and the destructive mitigation responses to it have certainly placed a heavy existential weight on democratic citizens. The social, political, and economic chaos of the past two years has profoundly disorienting. In the midst of such an unprecedented response, we are right to wonder about the very endurance of our modern liberal democratic regimes. The current crisis, however, is not the result of the pandemic. Rather, the general Western response to the pandemic has exacerbated certain social and political conditions present prior to the arrival of the virus. The pandemic has merely escalated an already existing form of disintegration. While there are many features of this present crisis, one that is most acutely felt and witnessed is a cultural condition which tends to incline citizens towards thoughtlessness.