GILSON, Erinn - Vulnerability, Ignorance and Oppression

It's my honor to present to you this admirable article which digs deep into our muddy minds. After reading it I remained with the impression that the main idea is actually a recommendation to stay true to oneself. Also the fight against ignorance should not be underestimated. We all have vulnerabilities, everything in a constantly changing world has vulnerabilities, otherwise nothing will ever change.

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Ignoring our vulnerabilities with the desire to comfort ourselves is a type of ignorance identified by Erinn as being a willful ignorance. I like the fact that she discussed advertisements as working on our perception of vulnerability. This perception isn't the normal, lucid, type of knowing but is the very easily manipulated mentality of vulnerability as something needing to be erased from one's life. She gives the example of anti-aging treatments as silently scratching on our need to be in control. But I was wondering, we have to agree on the role aging plays in our lives, I mean there are numerous reasons to eliminate it while very few in favor of aging, who really wants to experience the breakdown of his/her body with organs ultimately failing one by one. If these treatments do what they say they do, then everything is alright, if not, then we're screwed. I don't really think women buy anti-aging creams just because the advertisement acts on their inherent need to be in control, but just that people want to keep what good they have or simply to gain something good.

Vulnerability also has a more sunny side, as Erinn tells us when talking about falling in love or taking pleasure and finding comfort in the presence of others. However, as life constantly teaches generation after generation, we always screw one another into the grave because we all are vulnerable, sometimes more than other times. I don't know how your society is, but from my experience, the moment someone senses in another a level of vulnerability which he can control, he will inevitably do so if, for him, that leads to something good. The economic crisis was in a way created by men and women who thought like this, who took the will to power like Osama understood Islam.

One of my favorite parts is where the author talked about epistemic vulnerability as leading to the need to learn. In a way we can understand philosophers as possessing a high level of epistemic ignorance awareness. I also strongly support her thoughts that "one must be open to altering not just one's ideas and beliefs but also one's self and sense of one's self". Change is something constant. "The ability to put oneself in and learn from situations in which one is unknowing. Acceptance of the genuine value of discomfort" is something that sounds rather Christian but said more in a Sufi manner, pure wisdom nevertheless.

Her Academia.edu page: Erinn Gilson

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