A Justice Site
CSUDH - Habermas - UWP - Archives
Lectures - Home Page for transform-dom
California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: September 4, 2005
Latest Update: September 4, 2005
Rob asked me to define the difference between a loving oreintation to the world and a bleeding heart? Hard to do succinctly and off-the-wall, but my first atttempt was in Message No. 5734 on transform_dom:A whole reply would take the whole range of Love 1A discussions, but in a nutshell: our selves are formed and develop though interaction with our life world, and each life world is different according to the experiences of that person. The drive that Jonathan Lear, in interpreting Freud, describes is an orientation to the world that permits the self to socially construct and interact with its own perspective of the world in a loving way. In other words, if we orient ourselves to the world with love (which is a natural drive that guarantees survival through reproduction and mutual protection) then we invest ourselves in the things of our world that help it become a loving world, and we acknowledge as real, but do not invest ourselves in, those things which are not lovable. In that process the self and the self's perception of the world grow more loving. That may not make the unlovable parts of the real world go away, but it does add to the loving orientations out there, so it is doing something in a positive direction by making it possible to unite more loving orientations.
When we encounter that part of the real world that is not lovable, say New Orleans in the last week, we can find elements in which to invest ourselves that are lovable, and in the process both we and the world become more lovable. We simply choose what to invest in, as we can, in whatever the context.
The bleeding heart, on the other hand, simply denies the unlovable part of reality out there and operates in denial, on the false premise that by loving evil I can make it disappear.
Enough for an off-the-wall attempt to answer you. I'll put up much more detail on Lear and Buscaglia, and Freire, and others soon.
love and peace, meaning a loving orientation to the world, jeanne
Let me try to explain in a story. Mayor Nagin of New Orleans at one point ordered the New Orleans police force to stop search and rescue to regain order by stopping the looting and crime in the streets. People, including people who had been evacuated to the Houston Astrodome, were saying "I never want to go back there. I can't believe how 'those people' are behaving, looting, shooting at helicopters. I never want to go back."
Now, if we answered that young woman that there were reasons for the disorder, some of which were the total paralysis of governmental response, and that those weren't really bad people, we would have denied the reality of the genuine existence of unloving, uncaring, criminal elements among us. Some of those people are despicable, but most people were simplyy terrified and responding out of what Lear would call "archaic" thinking, meaning not rational, not conceptual. But who could be rational, conceptual, loving in the context in which people were trapped?
Now, genuine, unrepentant criminals are sociopathic, and or psychopathic, and probably thinking at a pre-conceptual level anyway. But normal people, trapped in tragedy, with only the example of their quasi-hypnotized fellows and a few radicalized people with the energy to act in whatever way they can think of, are likely to respond with behavior dictated by "archaic" thinking. It would be "bleeding heart" stupid to go in at that point without guns and enough numbers to re-establish control. But it is unloving to point those guns at people who offer no threat, who are as terrified by the camouflage and the rifles as they are by the putrefaction and hunger and thirst against which they are struggling. Sometimes it's hard in such masses to tell who does present a threat and who doesn't, but one way to cope with that is to prepare your rescuers with a loving orientation, so that they don't further intimidate the innocent, which includes most of the people they evacuated. That's tough, asking rescuers to re-establish order, and at the same time to empathize with those amongst whom order must be restored. Tough, but not impossible, not unreasonable. These people are American citizens. Maybe some of their own families.
It would be far more humane to let the rescuers advance in small groups, where one could cover any threats, while the others could welcome the survivors with more attention to helping than to controlling. It would be far more humane for us to understand how awful it was that rescue didn't even appear to start for so very long. Some idiot, I heard through others who heard the reports, wanted to arrest the young man who "stole" a school bus and drove a hundred people to safety. Now, that's bleeding stupidity. You give him a medal; you don't arrest him. And if you have a loving orientation to those who were trapped in the crisis, you would recognize that.
President Bush didn't go into the territory until the requisite supplies and personnel began to arrive. His people planned photo opportunities next to a Salvation Army truck that had brought food and water. The New Orleans police and firefighters, then National Guard, the medical personnel went in without supplies and without any ability to ameliorate the situation. Supplies need to be right with the first responders. It is unreasonable to expect panic under the conditions that were faced by thousands and thousands of those who for a variety of reasons had not been successfully evacuated.