This is my last column of the semester, and there are simply too many pieces I would like to write. I recently tried to write one about Harvard’s admissions lawsuit — but honestly, I am not yet confident enough in my position to state it publicly. Instead, I have decided to bring up several topics that I am struggling to take a position on. Contrary to the impression that Harvard’s student body might give you, they do not have easy answers.
Reparations are back on the table. Or at the very least, they’ve made a return to the dinner conversation. In 2014, prominent journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates penned “The Case for Reparations,” an Atlantic article which argued that black Americans should receive restitution for slavery. The piece was widely discussed but dismissed by politicians across the board. Today, a surge of activism around racial inequality has pushed the Democrats to consider the issue again.
This definition got me thinking: What, if anything, do I love enough to preserve at all costs? What, if anything, do I believe my society would be helpless without? It strikes me as strange that I have never attempted to answer this before. I have always been so confident in the Pinkerian view of human progress — where Enlightenment-style reason is our final triumph over tribalism — that I have not often paused to reckon with the fact that we are always at the potential endpoint of history.
For all those who are new to the Brexit debate, a quick summary: In June 2016, the United Kingdom voted in a public referendum to leave the European Union. Many saw it as the reclaiming of British independence from a declining, bureaucratic, power-hungry organization. Others decried it as the beginning of the end to the UK’s place on the world stage.
Yet drugs are not for survival alone. Since ancient times, human beings have taken drugs precisely in order to shift the status quo, transcend waking life, and achieve altered states of mind.