Why DO we care? Why?

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Somehow I think this topic has gone 'off topic' - the original question was "Why do we care?" and we now seem to be talking about statues with traffic cones on their heads :shock:

either I've missed something or someone has posted in the wrong topic :roll:

Back to the original topic please people !
Thanks Susie, the thread did seem to take a rather odd detour? :?
Sorry ,it was me wot done it . :D
I saw this topic when it was first posted, and it has been floating round in my head for a while; why do I do it? Many people have told me I have gone above and beyond what others would have done in my situation, which I find a bit hard to believe. Do parents honestly not give everything to look after their children? I thought that was what parenting was!?!

As well as having this overwhelming sense to protect my children, I also care out of fear of ridicule from others. I would hate to think that other people didn't think I was doing the best thing I could by my children. I have witnessed first hand how cruel and judgemental people can be, and if ever faced with that, I want to be able to say I have done everything I can and more to look after them. Not sure why I am so bothered that this situation may arise, but it is definitely an influential undercurrent in my motivation.
I remember when we were eleven ,in 1970 ,Malcolm was sent away to a boarding school in the north of Shropshire ,he only used to come home one weekend a month ,my mum and me used to visit on a Sunday ,one time as we were leaving he came running after us in tears saying he wanted to come home .
Anyway my dad wrote a letter and he came home Friday to Sundays ,don't know if it was just my dads letter or if any other parents did any thing .
That's a very interesting response Stephanie, your main motivation is because you are a parent, but somewhere deep inside you feel that society may condemn you if you didn't care. I doubt somehow that would happen, but it does provide a further, possibly unfounded incentive, for the majority of us who are caring by nature.

David, it matters not "wot" you did, sometimes it helps to go off on a tangent. :D
In answer to the topic heading "Because I do" ;)
'Caring by nature' is an interesting assertion/description!

Is is 'natural' to care? Gosh, philosophers and biologists and moralists etc can have a field day with that one!

I would say it is 'natural' indeed in that humans are part of nature, and (some of us!) are capable of caring, therefore by definition it is 'natural' (by the same token, it's also 'natural' to be murderous, as some humans are murderous....)

But WHY some people are 'caring' (and some 'murderous') is a very very difficult question, and one that humanity has asked itself ever since recorded time and probably earlier.

Personally, I'd say it is determined largely (in the sense of perpetuated, rather than originated) by society. If we are raised in a society where being 'kind' is approved and rewarded with praise, and being 'cruel' is not, then we will have cause to adopt 'kind' behaviour. This, I think, is Stephanie's perception (?)

Conversely, if we are raised in a society where being 'kind' is regarded as 'weak' then we would not behave 'kindly' (eg, we might argue in a kind of Nietzchian way, that those in the world who are 'weak' in some way - eg, disabled, elderly - should be expunged from the feeding grounds as a waste of space etc etc)(and we know where that attitude led to - straight to Auschwitz).

As well as society, of course, there is the impact of 'mini-society' ie, our families, which can either reinforce societal values or counter them. Plus, of course, we can be exposed to 'alternative' societal 'norms' that run counter to 'established' societal norms (eg, currently, we see this in the radicalisation of some sections of Muslim communities living in the west). Then again, as time passes, societal norms change - in the west we've changed from thinking it's perfectly accept to enslave Africans to thinking it isn't (or sending children up chimneys etc etc).

However, whilst I think it's fairly easy to see that it is the expressed values of society as a whole (or a majority of it!) and the expressed values of an individual family (or even key relationship within that family, eg an influential parent), can determined (ie, 'teach'!) each of us our views on caring for the 'weak' in our world, it's much harder to explain why it does seem to be possible for an individual to hold completely the opposite point of view.

ie, for a 'kind' person to emerge in a 'cruel' society, and for a 'cruel' person to emerge in a 'kind' society.

(The latter MAY be explained by the phenomenon of psychopathy, which appears, so I understand, to be a brain malformation - ie, the part of the brain that controls our ability to empathise with others is simply missing or undeveloped - but the lack of the ability to empathise doesn't actually make us CRUEL to others - or else those with autism would be sadists, which they clearly aren't - so 'something else' turns some with psychopathy into serial killers etc!)

Anyway, after all that rambling discourse above, I guess my bottom line is 'the reason we care is because we have been taught that compassion for the weak is a good thing, and something we would like to be on the receiving end should we ourselves ever need it'

(Which actually, the second part of that, shows that living in a 'kind' society is actually for our own benefit, as WE get to be treated kindly as well!)(ie, win win!)

Finally, of course, being taught to be 'kind' by society and family can backfire....when our 'kindness' is exploited by a selfish person (now, where do those come from I wonder? They have to be 'taught' as well I think!), and we've seen that on this forum too, where children have been raised by selfish parents to look after them and be their drudges.....

None of the above, however, addresses the question of why the ability to care originated in the human species in the first place (unless it's the 'win win' of kindness that I described above?
Because he is our only child and we love him very much and also there is no choice as there is nowhere else for him to go. We were told our son would not live past 18 and he will be 31 on his next birthday. However the facilities to support him and us simply are not there because people with his condition were not expected to live long enough to need such services. We never thought that we would be faced with the horror that facces families of chikdren with learning disabilities. Namely what is going to happen to our child when we are no longer here? Lord knows what will happen to him or how long he would last if we were not here!

Eun
Eun wrote:Because he is our only child and we love him very much and also there is no choice as there is nowhere else for him to go. We were told our son would not live past 18 and he will be 31 on his next birthday. However the facilities to support him and us simply are not there because people with his condition were not expected to live long enough to need such services. We never thought that we would be faced with the horror that facces families of chikdren with learning disabilities. Namely what is going to happen to our child when we are no longer here? Lord knows what will happen to him or how long he would last if we were not here!

Eun
Interesting to should mention parents dreading what would happen to their children after they are gone ,i wish i had the courage to tell my dad i would look after Malcolm when he and mum were not around ,when mu was taken into hospital in Sept 1998 ,i was at home so it fell to me to look after him .