On the eve of World War I, Virginia Woolf wrote these words: “The future is dark, which is on the whole, the best thing the future can be….” It is tempting to assume that darkness simply hides the unknown and the threatening. It is more challenging to think of it as Woolf did: rich with possibility in even the most desperate times. As Howard Thurman put it, the darkness may be luminous.
We live in what many would readily describe as dark times. These times have brought (among much else) a once-in-a-century public health crisis, the continued redemption of toxic white supremacy and autocratic leadership, declining trust in and support for public institutions, and growing evidence of impending climate devastation. What luminous possibilities await in this gloom?
“Dark Futures” will consider some scenes of devastation that define our desperate times, and mine them for insights into our predicaments and our prospects.
This event is produced by Cardiff University and the Royal Institute of Philosophy.
Paul C. Taylor is the Presidential Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles. He received his undergraduate training at Morehouse College and his graduate training at the Kennedy School of Government and at Rutgers University. His research focuses primarily on aesthetics, the philosophy of race, American philosophy, and Africana philosophy. His books include Black is Beautiful: A Philosophy of Black Aesthetics, which received the 2017 monograph prize from the American Society for Aesthetics (ASA), and Race: A Philosophical Introduction.