Acts of Compassion: Caring for Others and Helping Ourselves

By Robert Wuthnow | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWO
Caring and/for Our Selves

ACHORUS of criticism about the level of self-centeredness in our society has risen to a crescendo in recent years. First it was the “me generation” of the 1970s. In contrast to the social and political awareness of the sixties, the seventies seem to have been a decade of turning inward, of finding one's self. Trying to make a difference in one's community—or even finding a community—was out of vogue. Suddenly the whole society seemed to be caught up in a quest for self-identity, inner peace, security. Then it was the “decade of greed,” as some writers dubbed the 1980s. In the words of one, “greed was in and success was defined less by accomplishment than by acquisition. Whoever dies with the most toys wins.” 1 And after that, as some commentators termed the 1990s, it was the “decade of freedom.” To American eyes, the upheavals in Eastern Europe constituted a great ideological victory. People were rising up, shucking off the shackles of communism, yes, in the name of freedom. But to American eyes freedom meant far more than the mere political freedom associated with democratic elections. Certainly it did not mean democratic socialism. It meant new markets, free trade, the freedom to buy and sell. It meant that capitalism, the American way of life, was vindicated. Our individualism, our freedom to make our own choices and do whatever we wanted to, was after all pretty good. It was what people really wanted in their heart of hearts.

Serious observers of American culture have targeted both the resurgence of traditional individualistic values and a redefinition of these values as dominant trends in the last quarter of the twentieth century. Although such values as freedom, success, and self-interest have long been a part of our culture, critics now argue that these pursuits are eroding our capacity to care genuinely for one another. Being a free spirit, they argue, makes it difficult to empathize with the needs of others, especially those who may be suffering. Freedom becomes a problem when it ceases to mean liberty in civil society and becomes a

-18-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Acts of Compassion: Caring for Others and Helping Ourselves
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Part I - The Problem of Individualism 1
  • Chapter One - An American Paradox 3
  • Chapter Two - Caring And/for Our Selves 18
  • Part II - Languages of Compassion 48
  • Chapter Three - Talking About Motives 49
  • Chapter Four - Finding Fulfillment 86
  • Part III - The Role of Faith 120
  • Chapter Five - Conviction and Community 121
  • Chapter Six - Along the Road 157
  • Part IV - The Limits of Caring 190
  • Chapter Seven - Bounded Love 191
  • Chapter Eight - The Tarnished Image 221
  • Part V - The Wider Context 248
  • Chapter Nine - Envisioning a Better Society 249
  • Chapter Ten - The Case for Compassion 282
  • Notes 311
  • Index 331
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 334

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.