Cornel West on Spiritual Citizenship (#137)

In this interview with Dr. Cornel West, originally a keynote event from our July 2021 Spiritual Citizenship Online Conference, co-host for the conference, Oneika Mays, explores the relationship between Cornel West’s spiritual and religious commitments and his political activism. By highlighting the example of his many decades of work, through this conversation we arrive at a notion of what it means to be a spiritually-informed citizen. They explore what, from Dr. West’s perspective, are the most important things we can do today to start living our spiritual practices in a politically engaged way.

About the Guest

Dr. Cornel West is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. Cornel West graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton.

He has written 20 books and has edited 13. He is best known for his classics, Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and for his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. His most recent book, Black Prophetic Fire, offers an unflinching look at nineteenth and twentieth-century African American leaders and their visionary legacies.

Dr. West is a frequent guest on the Bill Maher Show, CNN, C-Span, and Democracy Now. He has a passion to communicate to a vast variety of publics in order to keep alive the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. – a legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice.

Dr. West is the co-host of the new podcast Cornel West & Tricia Rose on The Tight Rope along with his esteemed friend and colleague Professor Tricia Rose, the Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University.

In this Episode, We Discuss:

  1. Bearing witness and responding to spiritual decay.
  2. The necessity of community, of mutuality as part of citizenship.
  3. How to intervene with ourselves.
  4. Responding to hate with love, cultivating loving-kindness.
  5. Learning how to die to allow for growth.
  6. Wrestling with suffering.
  7. Transfiguring grief, hurt, and pain into joy. 
  8. The difference between hope and optimism.
  9. Coming to terms with what it means to be human.
  10. Finding ways to cultivate hope.

Quotes from the Episode

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