- possessing dignity and bearing witness to dignity
- psychic and imaginary space to dream
- humiliation (shame?)
- im/proper mourning
KANT AND DIGNITY (via Cornell):
Kant thought our desires were given to us by nature: as desiring beings, we are governed by the laws of nature. Our dignity, on the contrary, lies in our autonomy. As creatures capable of reason, we can value our own ends, but we can also discern which ends we should pursue on the basis of moral law ("Autonomy," 145).
The grandeur of every person acting as a universally self-legislating, rational being in an ideal pursuit of human freedom whose realization is always to come.
A human being regarded as a person...is exalted above any price; for as a person...he is not be valued merely as a means to the ends of others or even to his own ends, but as an end in itself, that is, he possesses a dignity (absolute inner worth) by which he exacts respect for himself from all other rational beings in the world. He can measure himself with every other being of this kind and value himself on a footing of equality with them (Between Women, fn2, 194).
CORNELL AND DIGNITY
Dignity inheres in evaluations we all have to make of our lives, the ethical decisions we consciously confront, and even the ones we ignore. Dignity lies in our struggle to remain true to a moral vision, and even in our wavering from it, since we are still the ones making it (Between Women, xviii).
...it is something that we cannot lose (Between Women, xviii).
Humiliation is the treatment by another that seeks to force us out of the reach of shared humanity, a shared humanity that includes our physical vulnerability, rather than degrading it.
The only truly humiliating thing that a human being can do is to seek to humiliate another, because in such acts, we deny both the other person and ourselves the respect that inheres in our dignity (Between Women, xxvii).
Putting some passages beside each other:
What did it mean that I had to recast who he was into someone he might never have been in order to narrate him as worthy and deserving (Cacho, 199)?
...mourning, at least as I am defining it, demands that we recognize that there was someone else, someone other than our fantasies of them, that we have lost (Cornell, Between Women, xix).
How do we write about the "disjuncture" between the structural conditions that constrain people's lives and the lives themselves? What stories can we tell to ascribe human value to devalued lives that do not depend upon the language of fairness? How do we evoke sympathy and empathy without deploying the logic of deserving/undeserving?...How do I write about my cousin's value without appealing to the same "family values" that his own life was devalued and disciplined by (Cacho, 201)?
On the day she died, she left me committed to the promise to write a book, dedicated to her, that would bear witness to the dignity of her death and that her bridge class would be able to understand (Between Women, xvii).
What does it mean to witness to the dignity of another woman? What does it mean to witness to the dignity of her death? What does it mean to die with dignity (Cornell, Between Women, xvi)?
Brandon had always confused me. I could not readily identify a purpose to his actions because they could not be neatly compartmentalized as either complicit or resistant; sometimes, his actions were not even legible as strategies of survival. It was as if he followed a logic all his own, but maybe that was the point. Brandon's defiant dreams refused to follow the logics that were prescribed by the American Dream, organized through heteronormativity, or dictated by capital accumulation, making his desires difficult to decipher within normative frameworks (Cacho, 203).
The imaginary domain is the moral and psychic right to represent and articulate the meaning of our desire and our sexuality within the ethical framework of respect for the dignity of all others ("Autonomy," 141).
Freedom not to fall prey to drives that prevent us from being able to express our desire, pursue it, and rationally evaluate it ("Autonomy,"144).
I hypothesize that most acts labeled deviant or even defiant of power are not attempting to sway fundamentally the distribution of power in the country of even permanently change the allocation of power among the individuals involved in an interaction. Instead these acts, decisions, or behaviors are more often attempts to create greater autonomy over one's life, to pursue desire, or to make the best of very limited life options. Thus instead of attempting to increase one's power over someone, people living with limited resources may use the restricted agency available to them to create autonomous spaces absent the continuous stream of power from outside authorities or normative structures (Cohen).