In Praise – and Dead – of Trees

The Toni Morrison Lectures
April 18, 2016 5:30 PM
McCosh Hall, Room 10
The Toni Morrison Lectures
April 18, 2016 5:30 PM
McCosh Hall, Room 10
The final talk of three delivered by Wole Soyinka at Princeton University in the spring of 2016
Presenters:
Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka

Take off those tussled, multidisciplinary hats and thrust them, fling them as high as we can. Almost the kind of symbolic expression which is also used in commencement: “The sky is the limit.” You and I know that the sky is not the limit.
-Wole Soyinka

When we speak of creativity you and I must continue to understand that we’re not speaking merely of what comes out of words or tunes, notes, music, graphic arts, etc. We’re speaking also of our partners in crime. The sciences, technology, the act of probing apparent reality. The fact of creativity that all of this science or humanities begins with curiosity.

Just as a tree does not make a forest, so does one gender not make humanity. When you compromise or you pander to fragmentary notions like cultural relativism, you are merely opening wide the gates to your own destruction. You have taken the first step, however long it takes, towards yourselves also becoming relative and thus expendable. This is when you wake up to discover that you have become first line designated victims.

Perhaps it’s about time that we adopted the language of those very enemies of humanity, but this time on behalf of humanity fundamentalism. Yes, perhaps it’s high time we declare ourselves fundamentalists of human liberty.

Video

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