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The power of softness

Posted January. 16, 2019 07:47,   

Updated January. 16, 2019 07:47


On a beach in France, angry waves arose suddenly, driving a peaceful sea into danger. A lady ran into the waters to save two children who were struggling to swim off the beach. The young kids were saved but she was found dead. French philosopher Anne Dufourmantelle died at the age of 53 in the summer of 2017.

She risked her life to save the children, who had no connection with her. Nevertheless, she sacrificed for them. She lived up to her moto "expenditure" and "softness." She put these two values at the center of pondering over. She believed that living a life is an expenditure. Taking a risk in the face of emergency is an expenditure that we go on thanks to human beings’ innate softness by birth and tenderness that derives from youthhood, according to the philosopher.

The value of softness goes beyond herself, her own children and her parents and siblings but went to reach a wider range of people without her knowing. In that sense, the children she rushed toward to save have a connection with her. Every child has the power to develop softness. The philosopher who upheld the value rushed into the waters to save the children.

Anne Dufourmantelle knew the power of softness. As symbolized by Vladimir Fokanov’s "Woman Carrying the Bull" in the cover of the English-translated version book "Power of softness," the value allows us to sustain risks and burden of living a life. Without it, a little skinny woman would not be able to carry a bull way bigger than she is on her shoulders. She attempted to fight against the dryness and violence of human existence under the theme of softness, which has been neglected by other philosophers who obsess over lofty discourses. The French philosopher once said that softness lies in us as if a butterfly’s wings were folded in a cocoon. On a summer day, she spread her wings to reach the children at risk.

Eun-Taek Lee nabi@donga.com