Relationships in a World of Individualism

  • rWorld

    The rWorld is about more than Dale Kuehne's book Sex and the iWorld.
    The rWorld is a New England based, non-profit (in formation), that is composed of a growing number of people and organizations from many faith and ideological backgrounds worldwide. We believe that much of the fulfillment for which women and men are looking can be found by enhancing the quality of our relationships. While the individual freedom we enjoy in the West is a gift, the love and intimacy for which humans yearn will not be found in self-serving materialism or hedonism, but in a variety of healthy relationships.

    Contact us if you'd like get involved:

  • Dale Kuehne

    Sex & the iWorld

    Professor of Politics and The Richard L. Bready Chair for Ethics, Economics, and the Common Good at Saint Anselm College, Manchester, NH.

    In this blog I'm highlighting signposts of the world in which we presently reside as a means of helping promote a civil, and meaningful dialogue about what kind of world in which we wish to live. I am particularly interested in exploring how might we reconcile the individual good and the common good, and where reconciliation isn’t possible, which should take precedence and why.

    I also blog at

    [Content Caution]

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Good Friday

Posted by Dale Kuehne on April 2, 2010

A day to consider what matters most.

And I’d give up forever to touch you
Cause I know that you feel me somehow
You’re the closest to heaven that I’ll ever be
And I don’t want to go home right now

And all I can taste is this moment
And all I can breathe is your life
Cause sooner or later it’s over
I just don’t want to miss you tonight

And I don’t want the world to see me
Cause I don’t think that they’d understand
When everything’s made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am

Iris, Goo Goo Dolls, Dizzy up the Girl (1998)


2 Responses to “Good Friday”

  1. Lauren Fithian said

    David Brooks has suffered in this column from the same thing that gets me all too often: inability to come up with a good introductory paragraph. Next time one of my high schoolers comes to me for help after agonizing for too long over an essay introduction (or the conclusion) I will have Brooks’ column as an example of how this can be tough even for people who write for a living. Brooks appears to be saying that, but for winning the Oscar, Sandra Bullock’s marriage would still be intact and happy. I’m pretty sure that even if she had not won the Oscar, her marriage would have fallen apart.

    If that’s not what Brooks is saying it could be something even more outrageous–that Bullock’s marriage fell apart because she chose a successful acting career OVER a good marriage. He posits the question in exactly this way: would we choose the Oscar (or some other measure of career success) over a strong and happy marriage? At any rate successful career OR happy marriage is not what the rest of the column is about. It’s not about having only one or the other and he makes it seem like Bullock’s marriage break up was here own fault for choosing to pursue her career over pursuing her marriage–this, even though Brooks points out that Bullock’s husband was behaving terribly. It seems to me that one factor in a happy marriage would be mutual support for the career goals of the spouses AND mutual agreement as to the importance of taking the marital relationship into account when making career decisions.

    “Marital happiness is far more important than anything else in determining personal well-being.” (As opposed to marital unhappiness.) I believe it and I bet Sandra Bullock does (and did) too. Brooks’ column can be reduced to one line: “Worldly success has shallow roots while interpersonal bonds permeate through and through.” But haven’t we all grown up with this philosophy in one form or another? (Money can’t buy love, or money can’t buy happiness.)

    Even with all the studies on happiness I agree with him that measuring happiness is still quite complicated. I would guess that the “tests,” the measured outcomes, and the conclusions are subject to a bit of philosophical and political bias. How we use the “test data” in our worlds could also be dependent on our social and political viewpoints.

    I am not a teacher but I have acted as Editor Mom for five children now. I give Brooks a D for his introduction and a C for the rest. I agree with the sentiment in the column but it’s certainly nothing new. I’ve chosen to ignore the part where he appears to find significance in the fact that although the US is richer than it was long ago it’s not happier “as a nation.” I’m ignoring it because it is wiped out on its own with the next part in which he claims that, although the US “has become a much more unequal country, this inequality does not seem to have reduced national happiness.” So, taken together, the increasingly happy richer people (with the power) balanced out the decreasingly happy poorer people (without little power) for an overall neutral effect on national happiness? If he had explored this one comment I would have given him an A.

  2. Bruce Meyer said

    It’s a fine intro paragraph. We’re telling the truth through a story, for pete’s sake. Editor Mom would have graded Jesus down for his parables, because his students had to ask, What was that thing you were talking about anyway?

    In the first years of my marriage, I fully intended to shortchange my wife’s desire for closeness in exchange for dedicating myself to some career goals. I remember observing that anyone in any field who achieved greatness gave themselves wholeheartedly to their goals. Unfortunately for my goals, we had a long string of health problems and church problems and vocational problems, together, which kept me tethered to the here and now for the first ten years and more. I eventually decided that career success was overrated, and that family networked success was the Truly Big Deal. “Eventually’ being the operational word here.

    About the Couple Du Jour, there is no sense asking “what if?” Too many variables, too many back stories, too much free will and hormones at play.

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