Friday, November 6, 2015

The Caring Game

It is by caring about things that we infused the world with importance. This provides us with stable ambitions and concerns; it marks our interests and our goals. The importance that our caring creates for us defines the framework of standards and aims in terms of which we endeavor to conduct our lives.

A person who cares about something is guided, as his attitudes and his actions are shaped, by his continuing interest in it. Insofar as he does care about certain things, this determines how he thinks it important for him to conduct his life. The totality of the various things that a person cares about, together with his ordering of how important to him they are, effectively specifies his answer to the question of how we live.

Harry G. Frankfurt, Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Princeton, wrote those thoughts in his 2004 book, The Reasons of Love. We all infuse the world with elements of importance. But we don’t consider some of the things we care about important because what we care about is overshadowed by the mass cares that are projected into our fragmented reality. We try to conduct our lives caring about what others care about, and, for the most part, we accept our position within that framework as one of the main goals in life.

When we allow the mass cares of our society to trump our own cares, we become pawns in a treacherous game. In that game, our emotions override our insight. We give up a portion of the self, and we allow others to tell what we care about.

We play this caring game in politics, in religion, in social circles, and we even play it within the self. We find the importance of others more appealing than our own importance, and we become desensitized by our lack of self-caring. We live to express the false cares that influence our decision making. We find ourselves electing politicians with hidden or ridiculous agendas, and religious leaders that prey on the fear and the unknown within the psyche.

We play this caring game to learn something about the self. We learn that we are more than one. We live to care and to recognize the duplicity that exists in that one.

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