You Can’t Lie on Facebook, 1: The Language of Mental Illness

I increasingly raise an eyebrow at social media relationships, especially in the group context. I’m a member of a number of Facebook groups, for example, where people go for advice and emotional and spiritual support. People vent and ask for prayers. People share struggles and request guidance. But I hesitate to respond.

Facebook can never replace face-to-face relationships, because Facebook can only offer us words. And words cannot always be trusted. We all unwittingly lie, most of all about ourselves. And Facebook enables these lies, because our Facebook “friends” cannot tell us when our words don’t match up with our faces, histories, or habits. Only the friends of my flesh-and-blood daily life can tell me when my words are skewed, based on their experiences of me. Only these sorts of friends can tell us when our words don’t give an accurate accounting of our lives. But on Facebook, we only have words. Continue reading “You Can’t Lie on Facebook, 1: The Language of Mental Illness”

Sex as Communication

We don’t often think of sex as a form of communication, even though it carries many of the elements and possibilities of conversation. We can use our bodies to convey something to another. We can lie with them or deceive. We can “say” something with sex that we don’t really mean, or we can use sex to say something that we later take back. We can be misunderstood in the way that we give ourselves physically to others, as if there are differences of language or words with multiple meanings. We can be more or less open with others. Continue reading “Sex as Communication”

Summary: Dependent Rational Animals chapter 1, Vulnerability, dependence, animality

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series. Click here fore more chapter summaries from Dependent Rational Animals: Why Human Beings Need the Virtues.

“It is most often to others that we owe our survival, let alone our flourishing.” McIntyre opens by drawing attention to human vulnerability to affliction, such as illness, and the corresponding dependence on others for protection and sustenance, especially in childhood and old age. These facts, MacIntyre argues, “are so evidently of singular importance that it might seem that no account of the human condition whose authors hoped to achieve credibility could avoid giving them a central place.” “The disabled” are not “a separate class”, but “ourselves as we have been, sometimes are now and may well be in the future.” Continue reading “Summary: Dependent Rational Animals chapter 1, Vulnerability, dependence, animality”

Summary: Alasdair MacIntyre’s Dependent Rational Animals

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series.

“Dependent Rational Animals: Why Human Beings Need the Virtues” is a revised and expanded version of three lectures Alasdair MacIntyre gave in 1997. It seeks to address two questions: “Why is it important for us to attend to and to understand what human beings have in common with members of other intelligent animal species?” and “What makes attention to human vulnerability and disability important for moral philosophers?” MacIntyre especially hopes that his work on the latter question will help correct the insufficient attention given to it within moral philosophy. Continue reading “Summary: Alasdair MacIntyre’s Dependent Rational Animals”