Robert Wuthnow's Acts of Compassion: Caring for Others and Helping Ourselves PDF

By Robert Wuthnow

ISBN-10: 0691073902

ISBN-13: 9780691073903

ISBN-10: 1400813913

ISBN-13: 9781400813919

Robert Wuthnow unearths that people who find themselves so much concerned with acts of compassion are not any much less individualistic than somebody else--and that people who are the main intensely individualistic are not any much less occupied with taking care of others. Robert Wuthnow reveals that people who find themselves so much concerned with acts of compassion aren't any much less individualistic than someone else--and that people who find themselves the main intensely individualistic aren't any much less concerned with taking good care of others.

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Extra info for Acts of Compassion: Caring for Others and Helping Ourselves

Example text

Total identification with the suffering, to the point of sharing their entire life situation, he would point out, is lacking in all three. Were Jane Addams their interlocutor she would probably feel much more at home with their style of caring. They do what they can and try to do it effectively. What good is it, she would ask, if someone becomes so obsessed with sharing the pain that he or she is unable to help those experiencing it? But new interlocutors have arisen since Jane Addams and Tolstoy.

Making sense of why we do things is never easy. When it involves complex motives and several alternative languages for describing these motives, it becomes even more difficult. The various stories Jack Casey tells about his behavior illustrate these difficulties. He is an exceptionally thoughtful, caring, and articulate young man, and yet he develops several narratives about himself that are neither internally consistent nor entirely compatible with one another. He can talk fluently about some of the self-interested reasons why he gives of himself to help others; at the same time, he recognizes the limitations of these reasons.

They keep her sober and give her enough emotional support that she can run a business and make a living. Janet Russo is no different. The time she spends at the abused women’s center on Wednesday afternoons may 40 C A R I N G A N D/F O R O U R S E L V E S help others, but she basically does it because she is lonely and bored. It is in her interest to have something to do. It is only logical in all their cases to be both intensely individualistic and also caring. The other interlocutor who has found a way to wish the tension between individualism and caring out of existence would address our three cases therapeutically.

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Acts of Compassion: Caring for Others and Helping Ourselves by Robert Wuthnow


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