From the Editor

John Turner

This is the first number of a new volume of the Harvard Square Commentary and with it comes increased wondering about what the good of all these electronically transmitted words might be. It takes some labor to send them out and, being a denizen of a commercial culture, I am driven to ask what the return on that labor is. Still, it's not a question I should be raising. When one writes, he simply writes. And if anyone reads, and is affected by what he reads, that's just an extra.

I'm not much given to thinking of time in calendar-defined units. Years don't actually have character. They are simply assigned character by people with journalistic motives. The latter produce lists of the ten best, ten worst, ten most bizarre and so forth which add up exactly to nothing.

Time does pass, though (as we say) and I guess calendars are as good a way to keep track of it as we have.

I'm in the midst of reading James Hillman's book, A Terrible Love of War, and as Hillman's books always do, it has got me to asking how much reality we can expect from journalistic reporting. Obviously, there's some. But, increasingly, I realize there's not very much. Even if one read the New York Times avidly, for three hours each day, his grasp of the forces moving in the world would not be deep. Newspapers and TV have almost no time for the mythic entities and forces that shape much of our lives. If we want to know anything about them, we must not only read more seriously than we can in the Times, but we must also activate our imaginations. So, in this new year -- if it is a new year -- I urge you read as seriously as you can and bring your imagination to life. And though I don't wish you a happy new year, I do hope you will be as happy as you can.




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Harvard Square Commentary, January 1, 2007