About  |  News  |  Blog  |  Outlooks  |  Newsletter  |  Clips  |  Resources  |  Index  |   RSS Feed  Français


Bookmark and Share


Philosophers originally borrowed the term “values” from economics, and economics is now claiming its due: it has become fashionable for businesses to publicly proclaim their values. Monsanto, for instance, lists its values as integrity, transparency, dialogue and sharing. But Monsanto is also the company that poisoned the entire town of Anniston, Alabama – at which point the very idea of values loses all value. So we have a choice. We can live true to our values, or use values as props. But only the first is the path of authenticity and the one that leads us back to the source of all values: the Good.  


Power entails responsibility. Having used our power to transform nature and society, we have put the survival of both at risk. So our responsibility, from now on, is to ensure that both may endure. To do this, we must add to our present obligations a sense of obligation toward future generations – not only toward our fellow humans, but toward the world as a whole and all the living beings...


There are three kinds of courage: courage in the face of life’s challenges; courage in the face of violence, whether human or natural; and courage in the face of weakness, disability or death. Of all these kinds of courage, it is the last that gives us most honour – for we share the first two with animals, but the third we share with God. One day I asked a friend how he could be so at ease...


The word “civilization” has become controversial nowadays – but one aspect of civilization that we can still agree on is hospitality. Hospitality is a welcome that goes far beyond friendship: in fact, it reaches its peak not among friends, but when we extend it to the stranger, someone unfamiliar and perhaps even distasteful to us. Hospitality is recalled in the ancient Christian tradition...


It is no coincidence that we speak of “a climate of trust,” for the health of a society depends on trust much as the health of a region depends on the weather. Just as thousands of subtle interacting factors determine the quality of the natural climate, so thousands of small individual behaviours determine the quality of the social climate. Chaos theory posits that a butterfly fluttering...


Allowing ourselves to be debased by an offense perhaps pays the offender more tribute than he deserves. To achieve authentic forgiveness, however, we must first “see to it that the injury done us does not harm us”1 …by refusing to let ourselves feel debased in the first place. Only then can we forgive without feeling humiliated. But how can we remain unhurt, how can we forgive, when the...


«''Don't do to others what you would not like them to do to you.'' Look into your own heart, discover what it is that gives you pain, and then refuse, under any circomstance, whatsoever, to inflict that pain on anybody else. This is the Golden rule. This is the source of all morality. We should also be acutely aware of the centrality of compassion, in all the major world faiths. […] ou...


Buddy, chum, companion, associate, colleague, contact: Many words might describe a person with whom we like to do things —prepare a meal, play sports, hang around a café. But there is only one word to designate the person with whom we like to be, very simply, it is “friend.” To do things with this person is only a pretext to rejoice in his or her presence. It is opportunity...


 The story of Robinson Crusoe teaches us that while a person alone on an island has obligations toward nature and toward himself, he does not have rights, since there is no one there with obligations to him. In other words, obligations are more basic than rights and always precede them. Moreover, obligations are absolute, while rights are relative. Thus every individual has obligations....


“Yo se quien soy” – “I know who I am” – said Don Quixote as he went his merry way, oblivious to the mockery of his detractors. But what does it mean to know who you are? Those who lack a sense of identity, said the Roman sage Seneca, “taste through a stranger’s tastebuds.” Indeed, taste is a good analogy for the sense of oneness with ourselves that we call identity. We expect wine to taste of...

Inclusion and Respect for Differences

The more a person feels rejected or marginalized for being “different” from others, for their poverty, skin colour or disability, the more that person needs our care and concern. In fact, our respect for them should only increase with their vulnerability.  


The concept of symbiosis may help us understand reciprocity. In biology, symbiosis is a prolonged relationship between two or more interdependent organisms, usually to their mutual benefit. In the human sphere, we add to this a sense of mutual obligation – and this is reciprocity. Belonging is reinforced by this sense of obligation. In its absence we tend to fall into a liberal preoccupation...


Plato, the philosopher of ideas, but also of love, compares the infinitesimal, divine part of our being to the pupil of the eye, which is a mirror, the mirror of lovers. He adds: It is in fixing our sight on this internal mirror in the being of the beloved that we are able to better see ourselves. To love, to know oneself, and thus to value oneself are one and the same thing.





Keep informed on new postings by subscribing to our free monthly newsletter.

Jacques Dufresne's

The editor of L'Encyclopédie de L'Agora and well known newspaper chronicler and philosopher, analyses actuality through the looking glass of Belonging.
Latest posts
Justice for innocent priests and religious men and women!
To Live or To Function?
An Alternative to Performance Sports: Sustainable Sport



Loneliness affects one in ten people in France

ONE in ten people in France lives in solitude and a quarter have only the most basic links to family or friends, a new report has revealed. The issue of solitude came up in 2003 after the...

Preventing Home Foreclosures - a Promising Innovation in Philadelphia

Between June 2008 and May 2009, of the 4,690 homeowners who were able to negotiate with their banks through this program, 2,776 succeeded in holding on to their homes.