Heather McHugh on Lakes and Mountains


Poet Heather McHugh said: “I have always lived on waterfronts. If you live on the edge of an enormous mountain or an enormous body of water, it’s harder to think of yourself as being so important. That seems useful to me, spiritually.”

From The Writer’s Almanac

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Adam Kirsch on Philosophy



Philosophers are people who, for some reason–Plato called it the sense of wonder–feel compelled to make the obvious strange. When they try to communicate that basic, pervasive strangeness or wonder to other people, they usually find that the other people don’t like it. Sometimes, as with Socrates, they like it so little that they put the philosopher to death. More often, however, they just ignore him.

— Adam Kirsch in “What Makes You So Sure?” The New Yorker, September 5, 2016.

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Martha Nussbaum: Philosophy and Emotions


Some excerpts from 25 Jul 16 issue of The New Yorker about Martha Nussbaum, philosopher. Interesting only to me, probably.

  • “To be a good human being,” she has said, “is to have a kind of openness to the world, the ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control that can lead you to be shattered.”
  • She argued that tragedy occurs because people are living well: they have formed passionate commitments that leave them exposed.
  • Nussbaum was wary of the violence that accompanies anger’s expression, but MacKinnon said she convinced Nussbaum that anger can be a “sign that self-respect has not been crushed, that humanity burns even where it is supposed to be extinguished.”…In a 2003 essay, she describes herself as “angry more or less all of the time.”

And from Nussbaum’s Wikipedia page:

Nussbaum’s other major area of philosophical work is the emotions. She has defended a neo-Stoic account of emotions that holds that they are appraisals that ascribe to things and persons, outside the agent’s own control, great significance for the person’s own flourishing.

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