Get 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 are such a lot all for acts of compassion are not any much less individualistic than someone else--and that those people who are the main intensely individualistic aren't any much less focused on taking good care of others. Robert Wuthnow unearths that people who are such a lot curious about acts of compassion aren't any much less individualistic than somebody else--and that those people who are the main intensely individualistic are not any much less taken with taking care of others.

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

Example text

They need me. I don’t need anyone anymore. Janet Russo seems to typify the kind of volunteer who is involved strictly for herself. She gives of her time because she has no need to work, because she would be lonely otherwise, because it gives her a change of pace, and because it makes her feel good. She also places strict limits on the caring she does. When asked if she ever helped any of the women she meets at US outside the center, or ever tried to befriend them, she shies away from the question, suggesting it would be awkward to do that.

In this respect Jack Casey is not what the critics of our society have in mind when they suggest we need to reform. Their ideal of the kind of person who will make our society a better place is a person whose individualism has been more deeply chastened by the needs of other people. They have in mind someone with genuine attachments to the community rather than the Lone Ranger who rides through town in an orange-andwhite van with the siren blaring. They would want to know 28 C A R I N G A N D/F O R O U R S E L V E S whether a truly caring person could be as intensely individualistic as Jack Casey or whether he or she would have to temper that individualism in order to form secure and supportive attachments.

I believe we succeed for the most part in doing this—better, at least, than many of our society’s critics suggest. But we also pay a price. We begin with ourselves. We worry a lot about our motives. We pay great heed to the language of good feelings. We struggle even to adapt our religious values and our sense of ethical responsibility to the fragmented society in which we live. These pursuits are all issues that deserve our attention, for they structure much of our thinking about the possibility of being compassionate in a self-interested world.

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

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