“That’s not quite right”: Sociodicy

Nicholas Christakis

“The bright side has been denied the attention it deserves,” writes Nicholas Christakis. Credit Demetrius Freeman for The New York Times.

How a target of students’ ire came to write a book about humanity’s transcendent goodness.

To accept this belief that human beings are evil or violent or selfish or overly tribal is a kind of moral and intellectual laziness,” [Nicholas Christakis] told me. It also excuses that destructiveness. “The way to repair our torn social fabric is to say: Wait a minute, that’s not quite right.”

He mentioned theodicy, which endeavors to vindicate God’s existence despite so much suffering. “Blueprint [Christakis’s new book],” he said, is sociodicy: It tries “to vindicate society despites its failures.”

(Frank Bruni, “A ‘Disgusting’ Yale Professor Moves On,” NYTimes, 3-19-19)

(“After the din died down,” Yale awarded Christakis the Sterling Professorship, the school’s highest faculty honor.)

(c) 2019 JMN.

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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