Course description

“What’s true of all the evils in the world is true of plague as well. It helps men to rise above themselves,” wrote Albert Camus in The Plague. It is not just the current pandemic: climate change, warlike politics, polarization, tribalism, raging anxieties, AI advancement – these are just some of the many existential troubles and challenges we all, and our very “human nature,” now face. This is our time to realize our humanity: find out what sets us apart as humans, and live up to it.

This course invites you to an existential odyssey into the human condition and politics. Are we truly different from animals and machines? What does it mean to “be yourself”? What’s the difference between freedom and liberty? Should we pursue happiness? Why do we yield to fear and anxiety? Is the search for meaning meaningless? Do we live in a post-truth era? What are the roles of morality in our society and politics? Why is God dead, but religion alive? Can we defeat alienation? Is love all we need? How much can, and should, we hope for? In this course, utilizing the award-winning edX HOPE (Human Odyssey to Political Existentialism; see https://tinyurl.com/hope44), we will address these questions, and then some more. We shall examine a dozen themes, entwining each with critical reflections, both personal and political, amidst the current crisis: Human/nature, identity & authenticity, freedom, reflection, happiness, death & dread, meaning, morality, truth & trust, God & religion, alienation & love, and finally – hope. (AM, CP, IR, PT)

Summer 2024: Online course

Uriel Abulof
Uriel Abulof
Visiting Associate Professor

Summer 2024: Online course

Uriel Abulof
Uriel Abulof
Visiting Associate Professor