Thursday, 20 September 2018

Martha Nussbaum on the Ezra Klein Show


We are born in monarchy (rather than democracy) - as babies we are aware of what is going on (mind) but we don’t have the capacity to move and get for ourselves what we need (body). As such, we have to make slaves out of the people around us. We need an all-giving caretaker who we can trust and boss them around, while at the same time being extremely dependent on them for affection and holding.

fear and love for one’s country and how we can be motivated by our fear instead of getting rid of it entirely. To be detached and without fear is to be without love

how to separate what is reasonable or not to fear - we must self-examine

how to preserve integrity in the face of terrible torment (e.g. the experience of war)… should we call for a return to or revival of stoicism?

Should we mistrust emotionality? (Buddhism? Stoics?) We should try to get rid of certain kinds of anger (but not the kind that fuels protest and politics)… how to do this? Stop loving. Nussbaum thinks this is taking it too far…

How to govern and discipline one’s emotions? What are positive (hope) and negative (retributive anger)? If emotions can be examined, they can be managed - is this true? Is this a call for a kind of national therapy in the hope of a productive democratic life?

How to learn what is worth caring about and not. Measure levels of anxiety based on proximity to the effects on one’s own life. How to deal with anxiety and learn whether it is something you have to live with or act against. WHAT ARE THE REALLY BIG PROBLEMS?

Can we manipulate emotions rationally? Emotions have ideas in them - e.g. compassion (it would be good if someone else’s suffering could stop) - moreover, we can manipulate compassion (propaganda) (e.g. photographs and documents around Roosevelt’s New Deal… no compassion because it was thought that poverty was to be blamed on the poor)

Cleanliness and disgust with regard to subordinating people as deeming them more like animals and not transcending their bodies as if we have risen above our animal bodies and others have not. Disgust as manufactured and taught when it comes to discriminating people within systems

MOTHERS AGAINST DRUNK DRIVERS - proactive movement to stop suffering for others rather than try to see to the death of drunk drivers (even though some acts of revenge make people “feel better”, i.e. death penalty)

fear and hope - uncertainty about the outcome even if probability is high or low - how does this make you act?

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