As finals for students are upon us, it seemed like an apt time to share this video of Dr. Anne Ozar (Cortina Professor-Sophomore Philosophy 250 class) speaking about Justice.
“If the communicative body is about the sharing of others’ embodied experience in their pleasure and happiness as well as their unease or suffering, emotion is absolutely fundamental to its functioning as embodied subject. So we need to find a way of better understanding emotion in human embodiment, and most particularly of attending to the social dimension of emotion. This suggests that a certain kind of education needs to be undergone and that all aspects of educational theory, practice and policy would need to be reassessed.” -Emily O’Loughlin, “Education and Embodiment”
How present is emotion in your education? What role does it play? What is the “social dimension” of your emotion? In what ways is emotion suppressed in intellectual traditions? How do you feel about that? 😉
(This is the letter Madi read to us during community time last night)
Hi, how are ya? Sorry you might have been a little neglected lately, but I have really missed you. The big man upstairs sometimes likes to steal the show, and your patience always amazes me. Let’s catch up shall we?
I’ve been thinking a lot about the future lately. Where I’m going, who I’ll be, who I’ll meet. It’s all really exciting, and really terrifying. What if I don’t end up where I want to go? Who will be there to catch me if I fall and I’m far from home? What happens if I change my mind or worse, you change? My dear heart, I’m trying to follow the path you lead me, but there is so much confusion in the way. I don’t want to disappoint, but sometimes what you yearn for is not what is expected of me. I’m a little scared, but I trust you.
Lovely heart, I see you beating in everyone around me. When I stop looking to the future for a moment, I see the people I am with. You beat in harmony with the people of my everyday. It’s a beautiful song when I stop long enough to hear it. And the moments when I’m really still? The times when I silence the chattering in my mind and the flurries in my stomach? Those are the moments I hear the whole symphony. I can hear the beats of the hearts in far away lands that yearn for things I yearn. I hear their humanity, I feel their pulse. It radiates through me. I feel alive in these moments, yet they are so few. Knowing this feeling though, I will never stop searching for it. I may lose sight. The eyes that blind me to real truths claim they are reality. I will question them. I will challenge the “real” and search for the true. I will do this all for you. So that you may link up to the beautiful hum of life, and flourish in every second of every day. You will be heard.
Finally heart, sometimes I look to the past. I try to recreate the melody that once was and feel saddened when I know it will never return. There have been one too many verses so that I can hardly remember the opening chords. But, in looking back, something magical happens. I see how different melodies were weaved into mine in such perfect harmony that I didn’t even notice their existence. With your help, sweet heart, let me hear those songs. Let me revel in the majesty that is the world’s inner workings. Open my ears to this wondrous work of art so that I may appreciate it in all it’s intricacies. This is my promise to you: I will no longer repress your beat and I will take time to hear the reverberations around me. I will let the music be made.
“If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine.”
– Che Guevara
I’ll preface this by saying that my political beliefs have been nearly everywhere on the spectrum. Currently, according to my voter registration, I am non-partisan, but judging by my hair, piercings, and undying love for Conor Oberst, you can guess which way I swing.
My dad, on the other hand, is an avid fan of Rush Limbaugh, no matter how risqué or allegedly racist his comments get. I have a theory that my dad’s just old and crazy, but I’m not sure that dementia can begin at age 47.
Every time I come home, it’s the same scenario: we discuss my classes, we talk about family drama, and we ease ourselves into a gentle political discussion. Two minutes later, Dad and I both realize that we hold completely opposite points of view. He brings up the standard conservative arguments – all of which I know, because unfortunately I’ve read every single Ann Coulter book published before 2010. I offer a few social justice-focused comebacks, but I can feel the tears of frustration welling up.
We’re misunderstanding each other.
In all reality, I don’t think my dad and I are that different. We both care for others, we both want America and the world to flourish, and we’re both pretty idealistic about our beliefs. But as is the case in most political arguments, we have different means to reach the same end. He believes a free market will most effectively guarantee human success, while I believe that, above anything else, love for others will save us.
Tim Bastian, a Creighton professor who spoke in last Sunday’s Cortina-sponsored Debate, is a lot like my dad. He’s an incredibly smart guy, he’s had decades of experience as a middle-class white male, and he’s extremely practical. And though I can agree with many things he said that night, one statement in particular struck me. He said that one of the most beautiful things about modern day humanity is our ability to trade freely and safely with each other.
Indeed, that is an astonishing and inspiring fact: humans have progressed so much that we can maintain a free market, exercising our ability to produce and purchase goods. What a true display of human creativity and potential.
However, Mr. Bastian, there are more beautiful things about humanity than our knack for creating free market systems.
I believe the most beautiful thing humans can do is transcend their animal nature enough to deeply care for one another, to disregard the savage “circle of life” and trust ourselves to create love instead of succumbing to violence and indifference.
There is absolutely no place for violence in the human race. The fact that we are conscious enough to recognize the humanity in others, the fact that we can create such deep bonds with one another, the fact that we have used our abilities to constantly improve the human condition for as long as our species has existed – for me, all of these facts point to the overwhelming goodness of people. Whether we are innately good or evil does not matter to me. What matters to me is that we can recognize when others suffer and that we have the full capability to do something about it.
Force yourself to care, no matter if you idolize Rush Limbaugh or Che Guevara, no matter if you voted for Obama, Romney, or Gary Johnson. Force yourself to stop polluting the earth with apathy, with things you don’t need, with trash and carbon dioxide and negativity. Force yourself to do more than simply exist.
Shout your indignation at the sky and run steadfastly to help your brothers and sisters who are suffering from injustice.
Because serving others in any way is the absolute most beautiful act of humankind.
Defend that beauty.