Disclosing New Worlds: Entrepreneurship, Democratic Action, and the Cultivation of Solidarity (Revised)
-- Robert C. Solomon, Quincy Lee Centennial Professor of Philosophy and Business, The University of Texas at Austin "Disclosing New Worlds" calls for a recovery of a way of being that has always characterized human life at its best. The book argues that human beings are at their best not when they are engaged in abstract reflection, but when they are intensely involved in changing the taken-for-granted, everyday practices in some domain of their culture--that is, when they are making history. History-making, in this account, refers not to wars and transfers of political power, but to changes in the way we understand and deal with ourselves. The authors identify entrepreneurship, democratic action, and the creation of solidarity as the three major arenas in which people make history, and they focus on three prime methods of history-making -- reconfiguration, cross-appropriation, and articulation.
The book is filled with real-life examples of each kindof history-making. For example, the authors show how entrepreneurs like King Gillette not only change the material conditions of our lives but also effect new styles of behavior. The organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving provides an example of how virtuous democratic citizenship can change the way in which a culture lives. And Martin Luther King Jr. exemplifies the culture figure who cultivates solidarity by recovering a foundational practice that had been forgotten over time (in King's case, the practice of Christian love).
According to the authors, there are two major perils to history-making in Western society. One is the Cartesian tradition, which celebrates stepping back from everyday life to understand the world on the basis of rational deliberation. Against this, the authors advocate an intense involvement in the anomalies of everyday life as a means to understand the world and the changes it needs. The second is the neo-Nietzschean tendency to embrace radical, individual change for its own sake. Now that anyone can log on to the Internet to try on a new personality, the authors argue, it becomes increasingly urgent that we retrieve our history-making skills, both in our everyday lives and in our public roles.