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Friday, June 22, 2012

Caregiving: the odyssey of becoming more human




Caregiving is one of those relationships and practices of self-cultivation that make us, even as we experience our limits and failures, more human.....

Alzheimer's Reading Room
November, 2010


Winslow Homer

The following is an excerpt from a well written, thought provoking article by Arthur Kleinman that appeared in Harvard Magazine.


But, to use the close experiential language of actually doing it, caregiving is also a defining moral practice. It is a practice of empathic imagination, responsibility, witnessing, and solidarity with those in great need. It is a moral practice that makes caregivers, and at times even the care-receivers, more present and thereby fully human.

If the ancient Chinese perception is right that we are not born fully human, but only become so as we cultivate ourselves and our relations with others—and that we must do so in a threatening world where things often go terribly wrong and where what we are able to control is very limited—then caregiving is one of those relationships and practices of self-cultivation that make us, even as we experience our limits and failures, more human.

To read the full text article go here.

Arthur Kleinman is Rabb professor of anthropology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, professor of medical anthropology and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and Fung director of the Harvard University Asia Center.



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