Caring

This post is based on the War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World by Jamil Zaki. Empathy can be broken down into three components: sharing, thinking about, and caring about. If your friend is in trouble and all you do is sit back, feel bad, and think about him, you are falling short as a friend. What you should be doing is wishing for him to feel better and come up with a plan for how you can get him there. Researchers call this “empathic concern,” or a motivation to improve someone else’s kind feelings. Saki writes that concern has received less attention from Western researchers than mentalizing or experience sharing, though that is changing now. Concern also hews tightly to centuries-old formulations of “compassion” in the Buddhist tradition. For instance koruna, or the desire to free others from suffering.

But Buddhists do not have a monopoly on caring. Christianity and other religions stress caring for the ill and those who are less fortunate. This is true even for agnostics and atheists. The notion is that there is a “commons.” According to the Wikipedia, “The commons is the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth. These resources are held in common, not owned privately. Commons can also be understood as natural resources that groups of people (communities, user groups) manage for individual and collective benefit. Characteristically, this involves a variety of informal norms and values (social practices) employed for a governance mechanism.[1] Commons can be also defined as a social practice of governing a resource not by state or market but by a community of users that self-governs the resource through institutions that it creates.”

This notion also goes beyond physical resources, and also needs to encompass the welfare of all human beings as well as other species. This is a pretty tall order. In fact, it is overwhelming. But it is important not to dismiss these problems, as they need to be addressed as well as they can be addressed. Some people devote their lives to this pursuit, but there is a need for most humans to pursue more or less normal lives, making donations, and making political considerations to address these needs.

© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: