and generous minds which most powerfully reveal to us anhigher calling than mere existence. . . . Our long hope fornthese prizes is to raise the level of public familiarity withnthose literary and scholarly works which most compellinglyncall us to lives of significance.nIn outlining the intent of the Prizes, Dr. Howard invokednthe understanding of human dignity expressed by RichardnWeaver in his Visions of Order.nThis great yearning of man to be something in thenimaginative sense, that is to be something morenthan he is in the simple existential way or in thenreductionist formula of materialism is bothnuniversal and proper to him. The latter may benasserted because he is the only creature who asksnthe question why he is here and who feels thwartednin his self-realization until some kind of answer isnproduced. This urge to be representative ofnsomething higher is an active ingredient of hisnspecific humanity; it has created everything fromnthe necklace of animal teeth with which thenprimitive adorns his body to the elaboratenconstructions which the men of high culture havenmade to interpret the meaning of life and theirnmission in it. This is the point at which he departsnfrom the purely utilitarian course and makes ofnhimself a being of significance. ccnLater in the awards program, the historical and culturalnsignificance of the work of Eugene lonesco and RobertnNisbet was assessed by Dr. Fleming. He identihed thenwork of both men as part of “the counterattack” againstnthe materialistic and dehumanizing tendencies of thenmodern world:nAt the first light of our 20th century, an eccentricnclassical scholar named Friedrich Nietzsche expressed gravenforebodings about the age to come. With the great religiousnand ethical systems of Europe lying in ruins, men abandonednto themselves would go mad. Twentieth-centurynman has done his best to fulfill Nietzsche’s prediction. Thenfirst half of the century witnessed two wars of unprecedentedndestructiveness and the rise of ideologies that regardednhuman individuals as so many faceless servants of thenstate. . . .nPowerful voices were raised in protest over this blasphemynagainst the human spirit. . . . The plays of M. lonesco constitutena major part of a revolution that has taken place innthe modern theater. In the years that followed the triumphantnsuccesses of Chairs, Rhinoceros, and le roi se meurt,nit has become possible to realize the richness and complexitynof his resistance to tyranny and his affirmation of the spirit.nWilliam Faulkner, in his celebrated Nobel Prize address,ndeclared: Man will prevail. But as M. lonesco has made usnrealize, he will prevail only by resisting the depersonalizingnforces that would strip him of his humanity.nIn our time, most of these forces are political and social,nand no one has contributed more to the study of socialninstitutions than Robert Nisbet. Some of his most productivenefforts have been directed to recovering that sense ofncommunity which modern man has surrendered to thenTop: Pastor Richard Neuhaus, director of The RockfordnInstitute’s Center on Religion & Society, sharesnobservations with Norman P. McClelland, a director ofnThe Rockford Institute.nAbove: Edwin ]. Feulner ]r. (left), president of ThenHeritage Foundation and a Rockford Institute director,nexchanges views with last year’s Weaver Award recipient,nRussell Kirk, and his wife Annette.nall-conquering state. As society has become increasinglynimpersonal and secular, “nostalgia,” as he wrote in ThenQuest for Community, “has become almost a central statenof mind.”nIt will take more than nostalgia for Europe and Americanto recover their old sense of community responsibility andnspiritual commitment. Among other things, it requires thenconstant efforts of gifted writers and scholars whose rolenbegins to resemble that of Old Testament prophets. We cannrefuse to heed them only at our peril. . . . Every age andnevery generation is compelled to face the consequences ofnits failure to be fully human, but even in our darkest hours,nwe can resist despair—if only by reflecting on the capacitynof our civilization to bring forth people to meet the crises:nT.S. Eliot and Richard Weaver; Charles Peguy; C.S. Lewis,nand Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and—in particular—twonmen we have here come to honor this evening: RobertnNisbet and Eugene lonesco. ccnnnJANUARY 1986 / 27n