Much of the work at The Sustainable Culture Lab consists of raising awareness of the systemic horrors of ethnocide, but it can become alarmingly easy to focus on this unpleasant reality rather than focusing on potential solutions. I have fallen into this trap myself and to prevent this outlook, I now make sure to dedicate more and more of my time towards cultivating and contemplating Eǔtopia. Fortunately for me, there is sustainable good culture all around us if we look closely, and moai is one of them.

The awareness of moai has grown in popularity in the United States due…


The Banality of Evil

In 1961, German-born Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt traveled to Jerusalem as a reporter for The New Yorker to observe the trial of Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi who evaded capture and fled to Argentina after the war. In Argentina, he changed his name to Ricardo Clement and hoped to live a quiet life where people had no idea of the atrocities he committed. Eventually, Israel’s military tracked him down, kidnapped him, and brought him to Jerusalem to stand trial. In 1963, Arendt’s articles for The New Yorker were compiled into a book titled Eichmann in Jerusalem: A…


In Being and Nothingness, French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre introduced the world to a new understanding of mauvaise foi or “bad faith.”

Most of us are aware of bad faith in the conventional sense. If you interact with another person and they lie or deceive you, then that person is engaging in bad faith and we are encouraged to not interact with them. The phrase “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me,” speaks to this expectation.

In Being and Nothingness, Sartre proposed a new iteration of mauvaise foi where the lie or deception consists of what…


For as long as I can remember, I have always been frustrated at how American society oversimplifies the meaning of love. Love is always depicted as this grand, emotive, and romanticized feeling when there are so many different types of love that exist. Love is both a noun and a verb, but the English present tense spelling of it is still “love,” which makes it harder to conceptualize the distinction between love as an action or love as a feeling. …


I would not consider myself a morbid, morose, or macabre person, but I do think about death every day. It is neither something that is always on my mind nor a thought that inclines me to take on a sour disposition. Instead, it is a thought and an awareness that compels me to live my life and not succumb to illusions that I will live forever or always be youthful. Throughout human history, remembering death has always been a great source of wisdom and philosophy because it counters the ignorance and naiveté of wishing for things to be eternal.

Death…


Last year, I read a book by Susan Neiman titled Learning From the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil. This book focused on how the Germans had worked to culturally recover from the atrocities they committed during World War II, and brought into question whether America could learn from them in order to address our own racial conflicts. In no way did the book posit that the Germans had completely recovered and were no longer confronting the past, but it spoke about the various measures they had undertaken to continuously learn from their unpleasant history and strive to create…


On June 17, 1844, Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard published his book Begrebet Angest and it was translated into English about 100 years later with the title The Concept of Dread (current editions use the title The Concept of Anxiety).

Angest, and the German angst, are relatively new words. They grew in popularity in the 1800s when both nations were grappling with the freedom that came with the collapse of monarchies across Europe and the changing relationship with the church. …


Nerve Strength

About four years ago, I read an article on ESPN about what makes German soccer player Manuel Neuer — who is the best goalkeeper in the world and won the World Cup with Germany in 2014 — so good at soccer. The thesis of the article argued that his greatness derived from a beautiful German compound-word: nervenstärke. Nervenstärke means “nerve strength” and this one word articulates Neuer’s and the German National Team’s philosophical approach to playing soccer.

The philosophy of nervenstärke consists of promoting stillness, calm, confidence, focus, and strength during every facet of your life. For Neuer…


https://www.instagram.com/scl_community/

I first learned about poshlost in 2018 from a friend of mine. It seemed like a relatively simple word that means vulgarity, with its adjective form poshlyi (пошлый) meaning “vulgar” or “crude.” (Poshlyi can also be transliterated as poshly, poshily, or poshlyy.) However, what caught our attention was an essay by Russian author Vladimir Nabokov about the uniqueness of this Russian brand of vulgarity and the importance for non-Russian speakers to understand this word.

The essay was in Nabokov’s biography of the Ukrainian-Russian author, Nikolay Gogol, and in the chapter devoted to Gogol’s celebrated novel Dead Souls. Over the course…


Cultivating a Language of Liberation

A Linguistic Void

As a race, culture, and politics columnist, my job consists of explaining America’s race dynamics in a way that resonates with people. Early on in my career, I began to question the effectiveness of our current discourse to create positive change.

The problem with our discourse was not that certain people did not want to hear the truth — even though that certainly was the case with some — but that the truth had to be topical and attached to a flashpoint moment in the news. Our language regarding race, at least in the news, had to…

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