This Friday, the University of Tuscia was privileged enough to host a panel of renowned political scientists, professors, and philosophers to discuss various topics concerning our world today. I attended this “Convivial Viterbese Edizione” in particular to listen to a thought provoking speech given by Terry Eagleton. Professor Eagleton, a Distinguish Professor of English and Literature at Lancaster University, opened his presentation to the audience by introducing his understanding of some of the major problems facing our civilization today.
The first, being the decline of higher education throughout the world. He was able to support this claim by drawing attention to the horrific failures that continue to occur daily in America. Some of our conflicts today, be began, are centered around culture. He defined culture as a way we create a sense of “sameness.” Or rather, how humanity first solved problems. However, today, we are more commonly exposed to the results of when culture creates problems and bars human kind against one another. Nonetheless, the main essence of his speech was dedicated to discussing and defining the term, autotelic, which means: having an end or purpose in itself. The first example he gave of a matter that is not, contrary to our perception, autotelic was Creation. What ever belief you have in the creation of our world, he explained, that the universe exists solely to exist.
There is no point of its existing, therefore, in contrary to our commonly held belief, the world is not autotelic. The second connection he made between autotelic and our reality was with our varying ideas about God. He expressed that God, like creation, exists solely for itself or that it “has an end in himself.” One of his most intriguing points touched on the black hole that is created from the perception that humanity, all of us, were created for a purpose. As the previous examples have shown, if the universe and God exist for no purpose, then as our creators, we must have been created for no purpose. Throughout the lecture I continued to gain a deeper understanding of his philosophies- Although his ideas were complex. Professor Eagleton’s last two examples were Evil and Art. Evil, he explained, is a very different concept from the meaning of “bad.” Evil, however, is something that sets to destroy for the “hell of it.” Such a thing, he continued, would have no motive, not benefit from such actions- but exists purely to demolish. Lastly, Art was another topic that he discussed thoroughly, claiming that the essence of modern art is autotelic in which it is commonly created today without a purpose.
Overall, I found his presentation to be very thought provoking and his concepts unique and insightful. I believe that it is important to work towards understanding new prospects on our world so that we can better coexist and make progress.
*Studentessa Usac inviata speciale