As we approach the new millenium, the moral, intellectual,and spiritual crisis of our time is visible most plainly in the sickness of the arts. The "postmodern" cultural establishment is philosophically empty and esthetically corrupt. But no one has been able to explain this decline or give a satisfying answer to the question of the proper role of the arts in our society. Now, inThe Culture of Hope -- a manifesto for a new vision of culture that is both radical and classical -- Frederick Turner goes beyond the stale dichotomies of Left and Right to take the "third side" in the culture war: the side of art itself.
Great art can never be politically correct, Turner reminds us, whether the correction comes from Right or Left, because its sources are deeper than politics. The visionary modernists (Picasso, Joyce, Stravinsky) understood this, but their successors today, as well as their conservative opponents, have forgotten. Turner sharply indicts the bankrupt tribe of venal mediocrities who now infest the arts, citing their naive rejection of morality, their ignorant denial of scientific truth, and their lazy dismissal of the Western cultural heritage. On the other hand, conservatives who call for a return to traditional values seek a socially "safe" vision of art that has never existed and never can.
In the past, the arts have flowered when they drew their inspiration from new scientific visions of the cosmos. Thus Turner argues that the revolution in cosmology that is occurring today in the frontier fields of scientific thought will powerfully invigorate the artists of the future. A new esthetic synthesis arising from the unexpected convergence of religion, art, and science will restore a hopeful vision of the cosmos as intelligent, creative, and self-ordering and provide the missing ground for the recovery of classical values in the arts, such as beauty, order, harmony, and meaning. Turner points to new developments in chaos theory, neurobiology, evolution, and environmental science, among other fields, to offer us a guide to the emerging art of the "radical center" which he predicts will shape the culture of the future.
"William J. Byron Distinguished Professor of Literature, The Catholic University of America; Founding Member, Association of Literary Scholars and Critics
Frederick Turner's vision is truly that of a universal humanist: not only because of his generous inclusion of what is best in all our planet's cultures, but also because he has an astounding ability to bring together the insights of the contemporary sciences and disciplines under the sign of harmonious beauty. And yet in his unbowed optimism and hope-oriented philosophy we recognize in Turner the quintessential American.
Edward O. Wilson
"Pellegrino University Professor, Harvard University; Author, "The Diversity of Life"
"The Culture of Hope" takes us past the wreckage of postmodernism to revive the dream of the unification of science and the humanities -- and hence of culture. Frederick Turner is an articulate spokesman for the small band of visionaries who know enough, and care enough, to make that dream realizable.
"University Professor of Social Theory, Rutgers University
Once in a while a book comes along that presents such a compelling synthesis you know it is going to make a difference. No one but Fred Turner could have put together such a brilliant essay on the implications of the current convergence of science, art and religion. Turner's colleagues in the humanities are going to have to unlearn twenty years of nonsense to absorb this wisdom. This is a book for the ages, but this age needs it badly and should learn it by heart.