In Defense of MoralnSensitivitiesnDavid Holbrook: Education, Nihilism,nand Survival;nDarton, Longman and Todd; London, 1977.nContemporary culture tends to corruptnhuman sensibility rather than refine it.nThis destructive trend has taken itsnparticular toll in the field of education.nWhen the humanities can be perceivednas nothing more than a political meansnto “rock the boat,” when a student cannget a degree in philosophy without evernundergoing a philosophical experience,nwhere the very critics of words andnnotions, who act in the name of culture,ndeny that the obscene even exists—thennthere remains precious little in culturento protect against the treason of thenintellectuals.nProfessor Holbrook, who writes fromnEngland, develops this argument in anconvincing display of familiarity with hisnown discipline of literature. He alsondisplays a peripheral vision remarkablynacute in tracing the ideas of our age tontheir cultural consequences. He deliversna solid indictment against the effort ofnthe nihilist elite to reduce the realm ofntruth to what they can identify “objectively.”nBasing his critique largely onnphenomenology. Professor Holbrook laysnthe foundation for a reconstruction ofnthe cultural wasteland relying on Husserlnand Maslow and their intellectual preeminence.nHe succeeds in challenging the verynfoundation of the nihilist program, callsnon Polanyi to show that man’s knowledgenis inseparable from man’s relationshipnwith himself and reality: that thenCartesian dichotomy between subjectivenman and objective reality wreaks havocnon man’s delicate relationship to truth.nHowever, as an “atheistic humanist,”nHolbrook carries on this critique on thenlevel of a philosophical anthropologynwhich relies on ethical norms independentnof any religious or traditional foundation.nIn one sense, this makes his effortnall the more admirable, since he attacksn331nChronicles of Culturenthe nihilists on their own ground ofnsecular science. While he continuallynadmonishes his colleagues to respect thenmysteries inherent in reality, he nevernattempts to invoke his “private” interpretationnof those mysteries. Thus, on anmore fundamental level of analysis, hisnsubstantive conclusion pales in strength.nHis constant message, that we need tonsolve human problems with a lovenmotivated by humanistic values, is devoidnof the historical dimension of experience.nHe seems not to have- noticed that ournmoral sensitivities are indeed the ongoingnarticulation of the Judeo-Christian traditionnwhich, after all, is the ultimate targetnof the nihilist destroyers. DnIn FocusnKafka’s TouchnFranz Kafka: Letters to Friends,nFamily, and Editors;nTranslated by Richard and Clare Winston;nSchocken Books; New York, 1977.nKafka’s touch is his intensity of intuition.nSince his first slim volumes hitnmankind at large, after World War II,nthe endless pondering of his role by thenKafka intellectual industry quite correctlynends in the inevitable question: who wasnhe, or who is he as perceived in thencontext of his complete work? An exegetenor a prophet.’ Or both.” For the fact thatnwe deal with someone who was (or is)nmuch more than a writer can hardly benquestioned any longer.nA man constructed of the most painfulncomplexities, sensitivities and vulnerabilitiesnof his heritage and epoch, Kafkandevised an unsurpassed method ofninsights into and recognition of modernnmetaphysics. An inimitable clarity ofnvision, his own way of illuminating whatnseems to us deeply enigmatic in humanncondition, has raised him to the categorynof humanity’s great teachers. Havingnnnestablished himself as thus in our awareness,nhe has no difficulty in commandingnour attention to any aspect of his personalitynand life, any shade of his reflection.nLetters to relatives and friends do notnalways mirror the genius. However, listingnthe trivia of existence and givingnthem a chiseled dimension becomes anstriking feature of Kafka’s thought andnstyle in this collection of private writing,nas it was present in the previouslynpublished volumes of letters to the twonwomen he loved. These pages, apart fromngiving delight to scholars arnd literaryngourmets, may still provide an unassumingnreader with unexpected, thoughnmelancholy, consolations. DnWaste of MoneynMcGovern’snSelf-ExaminationnGeorge McGovern: Grassroots;nRandom House; New York, 1977.nHalf-way through the book, onenrealizes what’s wrong with this autobiography:nit does not examine thenauthor’s self, nor his beliefs, nor evennhis life. It records events, thoughts andnendeavors in a sterile way, it approachesnreality in a style appropriate to regulationsnand manuals, that is, one which eliminatesnboth uncertainty and enthusiasmnas human factors. Later, the readernwonders why and how such a nicenperson as Senator McGovern couldnsupport so many utterly awful things,nand how such an exemplar of sobermindednessncould have misunderstoodnso many issues and circumstances whichnhe claimed to have a full grasp of. Finally,none leaves the book with a sense ofnsurprise that its author knows so littlenabout what he,defends and what hencondemns—which gives one a comfortablenfeeling that in 1972 we avoidednsomething much worse than Watergate.nDn