Stirs Minds to Movement

Recently, we’ve been looking at joy, a powerful force that can touch our emotions and thereby motivate us. If we wanted to look, from a different angle, at the important role that our emotions play in motivating us, we might imagine people living without emotions and without desire. That’s what Anne Carson does in today’s reading, “Stirs Minds to Movement” (CUA Primer, page 10). Carson notes a lot of things that would be missing from a society of people living without desire, emotions, or imagination. Can you think of other things that would be left out from the world?

Photo: “Ellsworth Kelly, Stele II” by scsmith4 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Original Sculpture: Stele II (1973) by Ellsworth Kelly, National Gallery of Art, Sculpture Garden (Washington, DC)

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Ethan Blanchard says:

    Many people try to live aspects of their lives in such a robotic fashion. To lack emotions is to lack humanity. We have several gifts that separate us from animals- emotion being a significant one. This gives purpose and meaning to things in our lives that animals cannot fathom.
    Kicking a dog and kicking a man produce very different reactions. A dog feels the pain caused by the contact of your foot to the nerves in its skin, while a man feels that and the completely emotional pain caused by an attack on his self-conceptualized (imagined) dignity.
    We need imagination, desire, or emotion – Aristotle’s phantasia- to be human. We would lose our desire to build beautiful buildings and monuments or to create art. Our emotions aren’t something to be shut out (but also not omnipotent), but to appreciate.

  2. Christopher Grunbok says:

    Imagination allows us to defamiliarize ourselves from the daily and regular hustle and bustle of nature; to shift our perception from things we can immediately see to things such as complex ideas. Ideas such as the reason for our existence. Imagination’s very existence depends on our intellect. The passage itself begins “imagine a city….” We cannot even do something such as that without our intellect, which is what separates man from nature.

    As Ethan already stated above, imagination, desire, and emotion, or phantasia, are qualities found in humans. These are exercised when we try to better ourselves, as in health or in knowledge, or any other thing. We are able to do this because the imagination allows us to first entertain the possibility of improvement; whereas a lack of imagination causes one to believe that the current state of something is its only state, for he cannot think of a better alternative.

    Humans are physical beings with the the ability to contemplate the abstract. Attaching ourselves too much to objects of the physical world leads to the neglect of the metaphysical, supernatural world, where we can find true joy. G.K Chesterton once said “art is the signature of man.” Neglecting the capacities of our intellect as a result of our attachment to the physical world will lead to those capacities becoming stagnant, and as a result, lose precious things such as art or innovation.

  3. Jaesen Evangelista says:

    It’s funny how we’re talking about emotions and how precious it is in our lives. We sometimes take them for granted, getting so involved with work and day-to-day plans, when really emotions help us feel more connected with the world around us and within ourselves.

    Carson beautifully describes desire as something that moves us. It’s refreshing to see desire in this light because I always thought that desire was something sinful. I mean, we desire to have sex, take drugs, lie, and hurt other people right? And most times, we let those desires consume us. However, what I failed to understand is that that kind of desire isn’t really desired. We are not thinking about what we want to do; we’re just doing it. This desire is irrational, toxic, and yes, sinful. But Carson actually puts reason and desire together. We cannot live with one or the other because that would lead to unhappy and meaningless lives. If we only had reason, like Carson described, there wouldn’t be any movement for change. If we only had desire, then there wouldn’t be any morals or respect for others in society. The two come together to give our lives a more spiritual aspect.

    (Sorry, I totally didn’t answer the question)

  4. Diego Amaya says:

    Humans need desire to have happiness. I feel like humans need to have that desire to do something with their lives which will make them happy. Maybe they have a desire to help people and become a doctor. But desire makes us get up in the morning and do something to change the world.

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