Monday, July 25, 2011

What is a Flourishing Life?

This question was suggested by Linda Hirshman's controversial book, Get to Work (Viking, 2006).  She says that a flourishing life includes using one's "talents and capacities to the fullest and reaping the rewards of doing so."  She argues that child care and housework alone "are not occupations likely to produce a flourishing life."  In women and ambition workshops, I tell women that to flourish, plants need to go down into the soil to receive nourishment and also up to the sun for light.  I suggest that to flourish, women (and men) need to receive the nourishment of home, family, and community and also to reach up and out where we work and engage in the larger world.

When I've asked groups of women to list the components of a flourishing life, the list is long.  They include lifelong learning, challenge, and having an impact, in addition to love and family.  The challenge for all people is to create a society in which we can flourish without having to give up soil or sun.

No comments:

Post a Comment