The Call of Character: Living a Life Worth Living

Mari Ruti

eISBN: 9780231536196

2013 (224 pages )

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Table of Contents (pages 8-10)

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Preface (pages 10-16)

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Acknowledgments (pages 16-20)

Download PART I: THE ART OF SELF-FASHIONING
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PART I: THE ART OF SELF-FASHIONING (pages 20-22)

Download 1. The Call of Character
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1. The Call of Character (pages 22-40)

Download 2. The Process of Becoming
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2. The Process of Becoming (pages 40-59)

Download 3. The Specificity of Desire
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3. The Specificity of Desire (pages 59-80)

Download PART II: THE ART OF SELF-RESPONSIBILITY
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PART II: THE ART OF SELF-RESPONSIBILITY (pages 80-82)

Download 4. The Blueprints of Behavior
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4. The Blueprints of Behavior (pages 82-99)

Download 5. The Alchemy of Relationality
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5. The Alchemy of Relationality (pages 99-118)

Download 6. The Ethics of Responsibility
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6. The Ethics of Responsibility (pages 118-140)

Download PART III: THE ART OF SELF-SURRENDER
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PART III: THE ART OF SELF-SURRENDER (pages 140-142)

Download 7. The Swerve of Passion
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7. The Swerve of Passion (pages 142-160)

Download 8. The Upside of Anxiety
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8. The Upside of Anxiety (pages 160-178)

Download 9. The Erotics of Being
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9. The Erotics of Being (pages 178-196)

Download Notes
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Notes (pages 196-204)

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Index (pages 204-217)

The Call of Character: Living a Life Worth Living

Should we feel inadequate when we fail to be healthy, balanced, and well-adjusted? Is it realistic or even desirable to strive for such an existential equilibrium? Condemning our current cultural obsession with cheerfulness and “positive thinking,” Mari Ruti calls for a resurrection of character that honors our more eccentric frequencies and argues that sometimes a tormented and anxiety-ridden life can also be rewarding.

Ruti critiques the search for personal meaning and pragmatic attempts to normalize human beings’ 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. She also shows what matters is not our ability to evade existential uncertainty but our courage 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, Ruti warns, leaving us feeling less “real” and less connected and unable to process a full range of emotions. Heeding the call of our character means acknowledging the marginalized, chaotic aspects of our being, and it is precisely these creative qualities that make us inimitable and irreplaceable.

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