Philosopher and novelist Iris Murdoch, drawing inspiration from modern idealist Simone Weil and Plato, once said: “Anxiety most of all characterizes the human animal,… It is a kind of cupidity, a kind of fear, a kind of envy, a kind of hate. Fortunate are they who are even sufficiently aware of this problem to make the smallest efforts to check this dimming preoccupation,”
Perhaps not the most positive place to begin. But it is hard to deny just how stressful, divisive, and disconcerting our world is today. The news seems designed to challenge our empathy, limit our openness and tolerance, and compromise our capacity for hope. And, as the five films in Film for Thought films this year show, seeking “The Common Good” can reflect a paradox. We begin by looking for shared values and come away finding how many “others” do not see the world as we do.
The Common Good: Humanities in the Public square is about “talking story” with each other, taking the time to listen, being inspired, and looking beyond our immediate vicinity. It is an art that leaves “fake news” at the doorstep and commits us to seeking the truth—starting with the assumption, widely enough shared in wisdom traditions around the world, that all human beings are equal bearers of human dignity, that they must be free to engage in what religious writer Paul Tillich called our “ultimate concerns.” Film for Thought indeed! Click HERE to read the Film for Thought essays.
FILMS FEATURED IN 2017
BECOMING WHO I WAS
OUT OF STATE
POINT OF NO RETURN