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Putting The Self Back In Self-Improvement
Novelist and writer Louis Bayard is maxed-out on maxims.

(via Arts & Letters Daily)

Posted by aalkon at January 20, 2004 7:57 AM


I am the MQ whore to end all MQ whores. You will undoubtedly hurl chunks of stew now. This is on my refrigerator door (can we start a new 12-step group?):

Central Human Functional Capabilities

1. Life. Being able to live to the end of a human life of normal length; not dying prematurely or before ones life is so reduced as to be not worth living

2. Bodily health and integrity. Being able to have good health, including reproductive health; being adequately nourished; being able to have adequate shelter

3. Bodily integrity. Being able to move freely from place to place; being able to be secure against violent assault, including sexual assault, marital rape, and domestic violence; having opportunities for sexual satisfaction and for choice in matters of reproduction

4. Senses, imagination, thought. Being able to use the senses; being able to imagine, to think, and to reason and to do these things in a truly human way, a way informed and cultivated by adequate education, including, but by no means limited to, literacy and basic mathematical and scientific training; being able to use imagination and thought in connection with experiencing and producing expressive works and events of ones own choice (religious, literary, musical, etc); being able to use ones mind in ways protected by guarantees of freedom of expression with respect to both political and artistic speech and freedom of religious exercise; being able to have pleasurable experiences and to avoid nonbeneficial pain

5. Emotions. Being able to have attachments to things and persons outside ourselves; being able to love those who love and care for us; being able to grieve at their absence; in general, being able to love, to grieve, to experience longing, gratitude, and justified anger; not having ones emotional developing blighted by fear or anxiety. (Supporting this capability means supporting forms of human association that can be shown to be crucial in their development.)

6. Practical reason. Being able to form a conception of the good and to engage in critical reflection about the planning of ones own life. (This entails protection for the liberty of conscience.)

7. Affiliation. (a) Being able to live for and in relation to others, to recognize and show concern for other human beings, to engage in various forms of social interaction; being able to imagine the situation of another and to have compassion for that situation; having the capability for both justice and friendship. (Protecting this capability means, once again, protecting institutions that constitute such forms of affiliation, and also protecting the freedoms of assembly and political speech.) (b) Having the social bases of self-respect and nonhumiliation; being able to be treated as a dignified being whose worth is equal to that of others. (This entails provisions of nondiscrimination.)

8. Other species. Being able to live with concern for and in relation to animals, plants, and the world of nature

9. Play. Being able to laugh, to play, to enjoy recreational activities

10. Control over ones environment. (a) Political: being able to participate effectively in political choices that govern ones life; having the rights of political participation, free speech, and freedom of association (b) Material: being able to hold property (both land and movable goods); having the right to seek employment on an equal basis with others; having the freedom from unwarranted search and seizure. In work, being able to work as a human being, exercising practical reason and entering into meaningful relationships of mutual recognition with other workers.

(from Sex and Social Justice. Martha C. Nussbaum. 1999. pp 41-42.)

Posted by: LNMZ (Lena Needs More Zoloft) at January 20, 2004 5:54 AM

Luckily, you save your best refrigerator magnets to give to your friends. The message on my refrigerator says "Let gay people marry. They should suffer like the rest of us."

There's a John Callahan cartoon up there, too: a woman behind a counter saying, "I'm sorry, this is a feminist bookstore, we don't have a humor section."

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 20, 2004 6:04 AM

What refrigerator door would be complete without a John Callahan cartoon? The one on mine shows Moses standing before the Burning Bush, which is saying, "Tell me those aren't Birkenstocks."

Posted by: Lena-a-Roo at January 20, 2004 7:53 AM

A maxim for the self-accepting obese, with a tip of the coonskin cap to Davy Crockett: "Remember the a la Mode!" (Yes, Amy. You're free to use it.)

Posted by: Patrick at January 21, 2004 3:37 AM