Disorientation and Moral Life: Harbin

From the OUP Blog  comes this short piece by Ami Harbin, “What we talk about when we talk about being disoriented.”

After describing a period of disorientation in their own life, a person might open up about how disorientations have shaped their identity or their understanding of the conditions within which they live. A friend is diagnosed with cancer; he says I’m no longer the same person. A coworker’s spouse dies suddenly; she says we can’t take anything for granted. We don’t only talk about our own disorientations. A neighbor loses his home in foreclosure, an acquaintance has a miscarriage; we talk about how we would have reacted and how we perceive their capacity to cope. Where might these conversations be going? They may not point towards reorientation, but instead raise questions about character, responsibility, and how to relate to others who are disoriented. In other words, everyday conversations about disorientation may in some cases become conversations about the moral significance of these experiences in our lives as agents.