How to be a Failure and Still Live Well

A Philosophy
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Beverley Clack
289 g
198x130x20 mm

Acknowledgements Introduction: Failure: And How to Live Well Chapter 1: Success, Failure, and the 21st Century Good Life Chapter 2: Women, Failure, and the Fear of Loss Chapter 3: Death and Sickness, Loss and Failure Chapter 4: Factoring Out Failure, Factoring Out Humanity: Bureaucracy, Metrics, and the Loss of Spontaneity Chapter 5: From Homo Economicus to Homo Religiosus: Remaking the Human Chapter 6: Accepting Failure, Embracing Loss Conclusion: Being a Failure and Living Well Bibliography
In consumer economies, success has increasingly been defined in terms of material attainment and the achievement of status. This model of 'the good life' and its formulas for success ignore the haunting possibility that one may not succeed and as a result be deemed 'a failure'. How to be a Failure and Still Live Well explores that often neglected theme of failure, not just as the opposite of achievement, but also, and more importantly, how it has been conflated with loss: that which haunts all transient, mortal human experience. Understanding loss as a form of failure affects our ability to cope with the everyday losses that permeate existence as a result of the natural processes of ageing, death, and decay. Engaging with loss and thinking about what it inevitability means for our lives and commitments, allows different values to emerge than those connected to success as attainment. Relationships, spontaneity, and generosity are explored as qualities that arise from taking seriously our vulnerability and that form the basis for richer accounts of what it might mean to 'live well'.
Beverley Clack is Professor in the Philosophy of Religion at Oxford Brookes University. Her publications include: Interrogating the Neoliberal Lifecycle: The Limits of Success, co-edited with Michele Paule (2019); Philosophy of Religion: A Critical Introduction, co-authored with Brian R Clack (3rd edition 2019); Freud on the Couch (2013); Feminist Philosophy of Religion: Critical Readings, co-edited with Pamela Sue Anderson (2004); Sex and Death: A Reappraisal of Human Mortality (2002); and Misogyny in the Western Philosophical Tradition (1999). From 2012-16 she was City Councillor for St Clements Ward in Oxford, and from 2016-2018 she was a member of the Labour Party's National Policy Forum. She is a member of the Methodist Church's Faith and Order Committee, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

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