Thursday, April 28, 2016

Review: The Art of Life

The Art of Life The Art of Life by Zygmunt Bauman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 Stars!
This is the first book by Zygmunt Bauman that I have read, and now I want to read all of his books. Bauman's writing is a blur of sociology, philosophy, history, theology, art and all things good. There will be a few dry passages here and there, but overall he has a sharp bite to some of his messages and speaks directly to the heart of our modern culture. This book is about a lot of things, but in a simple way he is trying to critique the fear of commitment and sacrificial love in modern culture and promote the idea that to live life artfully takes time, commitment, discipline, sacrifice and charachter; a happy life does not just fall in our lap it is made and fought for. Bauman, hits on a lot of other subjects regarding modern life; but the call to commitment and sacrifice in the art of life is a main core of this book. In the last page of the book, Bauman ends with these words on love/commitment:

“Love, which we need to conclude, abstains from promising an easy road to happiness and meaning. The ‘pure relationship’ inspired by consumerist practices promises that kind of easy life; but by the same token it renders happiness and meaning hostages to fate. To cut a long story short: love is not something that can be found; not an 'objet trouve' or a ‘ready made’. It is something that always still needs to be made anew and remade daily, hourly; constantly resuscitated, reaffirmed, attended to and cared for. In line with the growing frailty of human bonds, the unpopularity of long-term commitments, the stripping away of ‘duties’ from ‘rights’ and the avoidance of any obligations except the ‘obligations to oneself’, love tends to be viewed as either perfect from the start, or failed- better to be abandoned and replaced by a ‘new and improved’ specimen, hopefully genuinely perfect. Such love is not expected to survive the first minor squabble, let alone the first serious disagreement and confrontation…” (pg.132-133)

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