The Blessing and the Wound

in Post / Views Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:09 pm
by shiva28775 • 13 Posts

Hi all,

Do post your post and views on 'The Blessing and the Wound' here.


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RE: The Blessing and the Wound

in Post / Views Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:44 am
by Stacie Schwartz • 5 Posts

Luigino Bruni discusses the interrelated nature of economics, relationships and happiness in “The Wound and the Blessing.” This is an extremely dense excerpt, and I almost don’t know where to begin. I’ll start with a quote that stood out to me, “…solitude as the certain prescription for happiness without risk.” Bruni steps away from this idea, towards humanism, and later argues that there can be no real happiness without community and human interaction -- but when I first read it, I had to momentarily agree. What is it about the human experience that makes some people want to hide in the woods like Thoreau? In my case (I think about a cabin in the woods a little too frequently), it is witnessing the way people behave with and against one another. In order to be truly happy and fulfilled, it is important to be a part of someone else’s happiness, to give of one’s self, to have “skin in the game” as Jim said, but life has a way of taking the joy out of that pursuit. It is easy to become jaded and believe my impact is pointless.

The sentiment I am referring to, the self-serving behavior that drives people to being alone, is spelled out in long form in this excerpt, from Machiavelli, “One can say this of men in general; they are ungrateful, fickle, deceitful, and dissembling, cowardly and covetous for gain; as long as you do well for them they are wholly yours, offering you their blood, property, life, children…. When need is distant; but when it approaches, they turn against you.” This worldview is why people give up helping others. People will do whatever is needed to survive, but it is unfair to turn basic survivalism into a blanket statement against caring for one another. Maybe it is a naïve hope, but I do hope most people would try to be good before simply “turning against you.”

Later, this excerpt discusses the concept of community versus the individual. As people forget about each other and become more isolated, it becomes easy to tune out the bad things going on outside. When a community has to stand strong together, every affliction affects everyone. When people can isolate themselves in their own lives, the outside world has very little impact.

Tying this all back to fair trade, spirituality and justice, I think this excerpt is a reminder to remain aware and involved in the greater community, the world, and not become so intentionally isolated that we lose track of the things going on elsewhere. Fair trade is an opportunity to change the way we think about business interactions, it keeps people aware of the struggle elsewhere. Fair trade gives those of us lucky enough to be born into luxury (as compared to the rest of the world) a chance to take part in someone else’s happiness, it is a conscious decision to remember our neighbors and keep skin in the game.

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