mission statement of sorts

by Nariman Youssef

… It may well be that it is a mere fatuity, an indecency, to debate the definition of culture in the age of the gas-oven, of the arctic camps, of napalm. The topic may belong solely to the past history of hope. But we should not take this contingency to be a natural fact of life, a platitude. We must keep in sharp focus its hideous novelty or renovation. We must keep vital in ourselves a sense of scandal so overwhelming that it affects every significant aspect of our position in history and society. We have, as Emily Dickinson would have said, to keep the soul terribly surprised…

(George Steiner, 1971)

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