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Beyond the Conjunction



Not only does this month mark a new calendar year, but this month marks a new season in the A/O/V universe! For the next few months, Diane and I will be talking about Emotions: all those pesky feels and how we can approach them and how we can best value them.

On Jan. 15, Diane and I kicked off the new season discussing Martha Nussbaum’s neo-Stoic view on emotions which demonstrates (quite convincingly) that far from being distinct from our reason (or even antithetical to them), emotions have reasons in them. They are partly composed of reasons and can tell us a lot about how we are judging situations and the things that matter to us.

If you’re unfamiliar with Martha Nussbaum, here are a couple resources worth checking out. She is a force in philosophy and worth reading.

Upheavals of Thought (2003)


Nussbaum’s long-for seminal work on emotions. She outlines her theory of emotions, explores the socially-indispensable emotion of compassion, talks about the experience of grief, and explores historical instances of what she calls “ascents to love.” It’s not a short work, but packed full of great ideas, so check it out from the library and make sure you have enough renewals available!

Anger and Forgiveness (2016)


Spoiler alert: I did not agree with one of her major premises about anger, and thought that her acceptance of that premise made the experience of anger too simple as well as unnecessarily complicating her argument for what we should “do” with anger. However, I did enjoy her descriptions of Transition Anger and really appreciated her overall assertion that we need to “move through” anger rather than sit in it. (Something Diane mentioned, without ever reading this book! Sorry-not-sorry that my podcast co-host is a genius.) It’s worth a read on a very powerful emotion in our current landscape.

I Have to Ask: The Martha Nussbaum Edition (Slate podcast, 2018)


In this podcast, Nussbaum talks about how anger became so much a part of American politics today and what we can do about it. Listen to podcast episode here.

This is a good place to leave off for next podcast, where we will dive into anger and compare it with the oft-prescribed alternative, compassion. I hope you will join us and that you enjoy thinking through your own emotional experiences and discovering the fabulous reasons giving rise to your embodied judgments about the world!

xoxo, Jana

Jana Light