The Call of Character

The Call of Character

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Should we feel inadequate for failing to be healthy, balanced, and well-adjusted? Is such an existential equilibrium realistic or even desirable? Condemning our cultural obsession with cheerfulness and a€œpositive thinking, a€ Mari Ruti calls for a resurrection of character that honors our more eccentric frequencies, arguing that sometimes the most tormented and anxiety-ridden life can also be the most rewarding. Ruti critiques our current search for personal meaning and the pragmatic attempt to normalize human beingsa€™ unruly and idiosyncratic natures. Exposing the tragic banality of a happy life commonly lived, she instead emphasizes the advantages of a lopsided life rich in passion and fortitude. Ruti shows what counts is not our ability to evade existential uncertainty but to meet adversity in such a way that we do not become irrevocably broken. We are in danger of losing the capacity to cope with complexity, ambiguity, melancholia, disorientation, and disappointment, leaving us feeling less a€œreal, a€ less connected, and unable to metabolize a full range of emotions. Heeding the call of our character may mean acknowledging the marginalized, chaotic aspects of our being, for they carry a great deal of creative energy. Ruti shows it is precisely this energy that makes us inimitable and irreplaceable.Particularly when it comes to experiences that cause us suffering, our culturea#39;s easy answers are almost patronizing in their cheerfulness. This is ... A discerning reader will already have noticed that the distinction between the terms self, identity, and character ... These notes, however, are insufficient to capture the full extent of my indebtedness to the multitude of borrowed thoughts that seep into my prose.

Title:The Call of Character
Author: Mari Ruti
Publisher:Columbia University Press - 2013-11-12

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