Massey Lectures 2014

Lecture 5 - Belonging: The Paradox of Citizenship

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The 2014 CBC Massey Lectures by Adrienne Clarkson


This lecture airs on CBC Radio One on November 14



What is the paradox of citizenship? It is that we are most fully human, most truly ourselves, most authentically individual, when we commit to the community. It is in the mirror of our community -- the street, the neighbourhood, the town, the country -- that we find our best selves. We've been on a long journey through some of the history of the idea of the citizen, and what a story it is. It evokes an idea of what it is to live together, and the sometimes meandering path that idea has taken as it finds its way to us, today, in Canada."

Adrienne Clarkson

The Bhutanese have a principle of "Gross National Happiness" that places serious value on the harmonious well-being of people: it's a social good that's maybe even more important than economic growth. Three principles -- generosity, ethical behaviour, and tolerance -- drive the idea, which drives their concept of the good society. Happiness is related to your sense of yourself, and to knowing your place in society: to be fully an individual is to be fully living in society -- each shapes the other. It's the paradox of citizenship.

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Watch Adrienne Clarkson in conversation with Peter Mansbridge on
Mansbridge one on one

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