Essential Care: An Ethics of Human Nature by Leonardo Boff

By Leonardo Boff

The problem of care serves as a critique of the agonizing scenario of our civilization, however it additionally serves as an inspiring precept for a brand new paradigm of residing jointly. this can be what Boff provides during this groundbreaking new paintings. Boff desires of a global that remains to return, a global the place we now not desire digital units to beat our solitude and satisfy the human essence of care and kindness. crucial Care envisions a globalized society within the nice universal domestic of the earth and of an international during which care has been well-known as a basic ethos of the individual and as an fundamental compassion for all beings of production.

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Well known are the fables of La Fontaine (1621–95), such as, for instance, the fable about the fox and the grapes. In the case that concerns us here, Hyginus takes the dimension ‘care’ and personifies it. ‘Care’ takes a walk along the beach, sees a piece of clay, starts to imagine what can be done with it and ends up moulding the piece of clay into a dummy. ‘Care’ has an argument with Jupiter and with Tellus, and honours the judgement of Saturn. This fable is woven through with Greco-Latin mythological figures of great symbolic meaning, such as Jupiter, Tellus and Saturn.

Nor are they simple mental matrixes as they have tended to be interpreted by some figures in the psychoanalytical tradition. In truth they are two things. qxd 03/08/2007 12:16PM Page 43 Dimensions of care realities have their roots in ancient, communal and sociopolitical experiences of humanity. It is in these experiences that they have formed and been structured, and entered the collective unconscious where they live. On the other hand, they are also continuously updated as they confront new historical realities.

It is in the attitude of taking care that we will find the necessary ethos for human sociability. It is in this attitude that we will recognize the source of the very essence of human beings, men and women. When I speak of ethos I mean the collection of values, principles and inspirations that give origin to acts and attitudes (and morals) that will give rise to the common ground that will be shared by us all, and to the new society that is emerging. There is urgency in the need for a new ethos of care, of synergy, of re-connection, of benevolence, of long-lasting peace with the Earth, with life, with society, with the fate of people, and especially with the great majority of the peoples of the Earth, who are impoverished and condemned.

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