Monday, July 15, 2019
This book is about a journey: out of the confines of nihilism into the heart of meaning. It presses the question: Does nihilism have the last word? The book addresses a contemporary crisis of faith, a crisis of identity, and a sense of lostness in late modernity. Our companions on the journey are a fine, seasoned group of writers, poets, social reformers, scientists, scholars and public intellectuals. Among the notables are Alvin Plantinga, Miralslov Volf, Jürgen Habermas, David Bentley Hart, Michel Foucault, Calvin Schrag, Jim Wallis, Tom McLeish and Jens Zimmermann. Special mention goes to eminent philosopher of modernity Charles Taylor for his deep, insightful cultural lens. He brings a major contribution to the discernment of our circumstances and our critical choices. The Great Escape from Nihilism is about a courageous and somewhat dangerous journey, but ultimately it is a path towards hopeful alternatives to the forces that weigh down our spirits, and the tensions that divide us. We must decide whether the quest to escape outweighs the risks. After mapping the contours of nihilism and the immanent frame in Part 1, the story proceeds with diagnosis and then prognosis. The ten substantial conversations that follow in Part 2 are modeled on real, ongoing discussions and lively debates over several years on university campuses across Canada, the United States and Europe. Despite how practical they are, there is more to life than science, technology, business and algorithms. Our journey involves the quest for the Holy Grail of human flourishing, the deeper life, the thick self. Dr. Carkner provides wise and persuasive suggestions of ways forward in navigating the landscape of late modernity.