I am happy to have found the topic of “good living” on the new blog. I have come to know about the concept from the native peoples of Bolivia and Ecuador.
I would like to introduce the ideas of the philosophers of the Diotima group in Italy, who have been working on a feminist approach for over 25 years, that goes beyond the logic that sees emancipation as conforming to the norm of “human being = man”. They wonder about the aspects of feminine freedom and how can the empowerment processes be when they include relationships as a necessity to living. A central point to this argument is to entrust yourself to other women (“affidarsi”) to benefit from their knowledge, their experience, etc. A new practice arises when women authorise themselves, take each other seriously, they ponder the circulating ideas and concepts and they have the explicit intention to learn and refer to each other. The “start with you” principle is important, difference, and not equality, should be at the centre. “Fare Diotima” also means separating power from politics. Freeing common politics from the logics of power, and above all from its limitations, inevitably brings about another understanding of politics. You reach a concept of politics that is driven by the desire to commit to relationships, one that takes seriously the experience of living with others as well as negotiates how you want and can live together.
Two women unveiled, and still transmit, this approach in the german speaking spheres with their translations of the books of the Diotima philosofers and of the women of the Women’s Bookshop in Milán: Dorothee Markert and Antje Scrupp. The latter says in an interview with Monika Stocker of the “New Ways – Contributions to Religion and Socialism” magazine: “The women’s movement wanted to shake the world’s foundations, but instead, we were offered equality. However, the feminist critique of the symbolic patriarchal order never referred to the sole argument of women being excluded from the privileges, but it also criticised many other things: exploitation of nature, racism and colonialism, an unfair economic system, etc. (…) While concepts like «justice», «solidarity» and «peace» are very nice, many times their meaning isn’t very clear. As notions, they are worn-out, hollowed of meaning after so much wear, being used in ideological disputes and political rituals. (…) That’s why we’ve written the “ABC of good living”, where we collect the notions that from our point of view, are important today to work for a better life for the seven thousand million people in the world.”
Under the title “The ABC of the good living”, nine women decided to creatively question and challenge the symbolic order of our world and give it a new form. The book is the preliminary balance of those reflections and debates. The content can also be found online at www.abcdesgutenlebens.de. They are no longer contempt with our western thought which, ever since Aristotle, claims the dichotomization of the world: higher and lower, up and down, man and woman, work and care work, us and the others. Therefore, they convey every person as “dignity bearer” since they’ve all come into the world with dignity, they’re unique and they are provided with an inner dignity beyond the utility of their work, their value in the market of relationships, etc. To speak like this of every person in the world, demands great ethics. It means that everyone has the right to a “good living”: enough food, the possibility to have access to financial support, the right to the integrity of the body, protection against violence and many other things.
Esther Gisler Fischer