On Being Capacious

Last year, J Butler spoke about the continued need for the humanities. I was particularly drawn to her use of “capacious.”

Ideally, we lose ourselves in what we read, only to return to ourselves, transformed and part of a more expansive world — in short, we become more critical and more capacious in our thinking and our acting.

To be capacious is to be generous when listening to others’ perspectives, to be willing to take seriously ideas and experiences that we don’t understand or with which we don’t agree. I love the idea of valuing capaciousness. It fits with making and staying in trouble because being capacious (creating/inhabiting roomier, more generous spaces of understanding and engagement) demands that we push ourselves to think deeply and critically, especially about our own actions and ideas.

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