Sarah Pessin

Uncomfortable Virtues

Hard Hope 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 “Hard Hope,” 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–even if we don’t like one another. It’s a difficult mode of encounter–and it’s perfectly complicated kind of hope for the perfectly prickly reality of pluralism.

My “Hard Hope” project unpacks new habits for facing our neighbors and ourselves in a spirit of ethics and equity. No bread breaking, backyard BBQs, or hugs required.

Exit mobile version