The Take

Sometimes, a little distance helps put things in perspective. Here is an insightful documentary that a good friend, Cklara, recommended that left me hopeful.

I post this not to invite the play out of an old worn out debate of the past century but to hopefully discuss these examples of current resistances. For those of us who can afford for this to be an ethical question, a luxury that could be easily ignored, perhaps it may help to situate this to a closer and relevant text. I first read Civil Disobedience when I was 16; it was probably one of the first things that I read that really spoke to me. Mainly because it called me out. I understand many of you will fear, as I do, what is being asked? To conscientiously not pay certain taxes? To be willing to go to prison over principles? To dissolve my relationship to the unjust State? wait… No, I can’t do that! …Can I?
Except that’s not all that is being asked. While admittedly already hard tasks, it is too easy to simply do what others have done before. In a critical way it misses the point. What is being asked is to think for one’s self and to act by one’s ethics. Asking how one should live is the first step in protest. This already is a powerful action. For those of us who can afford for this to be an ethical question, a luxury that could be easily ignored; let’s all get uneasy.


3 thoughts on “The Take

  1. First, thank you Angel and Cklara for sharing this. A little time has past since I watched this, then re-reading your thoughts Angel, yes, let us, as friends, encourage each other to “get uneasy.” Last week, in my philosophy of religion class, we discussed what Nietzsche means by “pity” and “compassion.” He rejects “pity,” and its companion, “charity,” if they motivate in us a sense of desperation, desperation to rid ourselves of the feeling of discomfort. But, “love/compassion,” to use Mercedes Sosa’s song, is a “stab of love.” Compassion isn’t a cup of bliss. We aren’t entitle to forget. Though it will also mean facing human weakness and selfishness, tragic and comic—compassion can be nailed and bastardized. We understand the danger in forgetting, yet sleep is so much desired. There is something to be said of Confucius saying “enmity should be requited with justice.” Let’s help each other to remember, to do something, whatever it is that we can do.

    1. Friendship is the right spirit. With that, I find it interesting that you bring up Nietzsche and pity/compassion; to which I also find it helpful to remember that Nietzsche too has friends. This attack on pity has been seen before as noble, as Aristotle and Spinoza have also discouraged pity. You are right to point out that pity and compassion do not necessarily mean the same thing. While compassion is an affirmation of joy, pity is a passive pain that stems from and leads to nihilism. I enjoyed reading these free google books, The Other Nietzsche, particularly the chapter Thoughts on Pity and Revenge and loved the book Nietzsche and Philosophy, the whole book really but especially in the chapters: The Problem of Existence and Analysis of Pity. Both texts are useful resources in understanding how Nietzsche does not see resentment (it’s your fault) and bad conscience (it’s my fault) and their common fruit (responsibility) as a simply psychological events but rather as the fundamental categories of Semitic and Christian thought, of our way of thinking and interpreting existence in general.

      Nietzsche and Philosophy by Gilles Deleuze
      The Other Nietzsche by Joan Stambaugh

      And so I fear these protests hopeless if the strategy is nothing more than promoting paralyzing pity, after all, who is it that feels all this pity? Not the 1%. Not our elected governors. Not large corporations. Not the police. For all that, these current leaderless resistances have been and continue to be most powerful when encouraging active compassion and friendship.

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