sarahpessin@sarahpessin.com

Uncomfortable Virtues

Uncomfortable Virtues project

In a recent twitter poll, 50% of respondents thought coexisting with neighbors was about “hugging it out”–but is that right?

In my work on “uncomfortable virtues,” I recommend the answer is no. And I draw on a wide range of interdisciplinary and intercultural povs to help support my claim.

From MLK’s teachings on the true meaning of Christian love to atheist Marxist insights on inter-human debt to Holocaust survivor and philosopher Emmanuel Levinas’ insights on “responsibility” as a mode of living with neighbors–turns out coexisting well is not about becoming the best of friends.

While friendship is a great goal when it comes to your close people, peaceful politics is not friendship to scale. We need to look out for each other–not like one another. It’s a big difference that makes a world of difference.

My “uncomfortable virtues” project unpacks seven new “responsible and risky” virtues for how we face our neighbors and ourselves in a spirit of ethics and equity. No bread breaking, backyard BBQs, or hugs required.