Martha Nussbaum

INSPIRATION: "fragility of goodness" martha nussbaum"

[youtube=] watch this video or else read some'uh'duh good parts I transcribed below

18:45 thoughts after discussing the story of Hekuba -  "The condition of being good is that it should always be possible for you to be morally destroyed by something that you couldn't prevent.  To be a good human being, is to have a kind of openness to the world - an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control that can lead you to be shattered in very extreme circumstances - in circumstances that for which you are not yourself to blame.  I think this something really important about the condition of the ethical life that it is based on a trust in the uncertain, a willingness to be exposed - It's based on being more like a plant than like a jewel.  Something rather fragile, but whose particular beauty is inseparable from that fragility."

21:10 "Tragedy happens only when you are trying to live well.  For a heedless person who doesn't have deep commitments to others, Agamemnon's conflict isn't a tragedy.   Someone who is a bad person could go in and slaughter that child with equanimity or could desert all the men, let them die.  But it's when you are trying to live well and you deeply care about things you are trying to do that the world enters in in a particularly painful way. And it's in that struggle, with recalcitrant circumstances, that a lot of the value of the moral life comes in."

22:08 "The lesson certainly is not to try to maximize conflict, or to romanticize struggle and suffering.  But it's rather to see that you should care about things in a way that makes it a possibility that tragedy will happen to you. If you never trust any people, or if you don't trust the political setting, which is certainly something I see very often in my students, then it doesn't hurt you when things go badly. But you want to tell them to live their lives with such a seriousness of commitment that they're not adjusting their desires to the way the world actually goes, but they're trying to rest from the world, a good life, the good life that they desire. And sometimes this does lead them into tragedy."


My compassion for others is partially rooted in the fear/understanding that I have, we all have, a breaking point. The possibility will always exist that I will lose my faith in humanity, but still I forgive.  I think I forgive, because not only have I been hurt, I have hurt others.  I've been hurt because I have made myself vulnerable and I hurt others in attempt to stay honest.  This Nussbaum interview made me realize my tendency to make myself vulnerable is rooted in my love and passion for life.  And maybe I forgive so much because people who are clumsy with themselves maybe have been hurt, because maybe they too have a passion for life and just need to be nurtured, like she said, a plant.  and maybe we're all in this together and it's our responsibility to tend to one another when we have the capacity, and everything is a mess and they're IS a point of no return - and someone can become so damaged that they cannot regain their faith in the world. I don't really know where I'm going with this, but I know I am really glad for her and her thoughts and I want to read more about what she has to say.  I also am really excited about the story of Hekuba and would like to draw it out.  HAPPY FRIDAY