Saturday, February 23, 2013

W.E.B. Du Bois: The Birthday Party

Thinking of W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963) reminds me of a lot of things beyond his books and ideas, public campaigns and transcendent inspiration. It reminds me of the 30th Street Post Office in West Philadelphia, a grand building with engaging postal workers, one of whom once held forth on Dr. Du Bois while selling me Du Bois stamps (must have been 1992-1993). "Some people will try to say his name in the French way, but they'd be wrong and need to look it up or ask me," he said, chuckling.

Philadelphia is a great city for talking with people, as all cities have been, in my experience. Strength through diversity. Yearnin' and learning.

Today is Du Bois' birthday. 110 years ago, he published The Souls of Black Folk (1903), a book on social psychology (sociology if you prefer), about the structures and systems of society, how they shape perception, worldview. Du Bois was cool -- with things like the "veil of double conciousness" to ponder, like an evolving blend of Marxian social thought and psychoanalysis with an African American focus. This was cutting edge, keeping in mind that Freud's Die Traumdeutung / The Interpretation of Dreams was first published in 1899. The Souls of Black Folk came into being almost exactly as Carl Jung finished his dissertation across the sea, what would later be translated as Psychology and the Occult. New and reshaped ideas abounded. They still do. Du Bois was part of it. Happy birthday to him.

Today's Rune: Wholeness.      


1 comment:

jodi said...

Erik, did he discover that black souls and white souls are the same? I certainly hope so!