Saturday, April 21, 2007

"The Myth of Care"

During the worst of the Vietnam carnage, Rollo May, the humanist psychologist who wrote "Love and Will,” kept searching newspapers and magazines for photographs of people trying to preserve life rather than destroy it--medics in the war zone, student protesters shielding one another against uniformed men with rifles and clubs, people feeding and sheltering the helpless.

I am still haunted by that vision of a healer of minds trying to find evidence of what he called “the myth of care,” the ingrained altruism of human beings, in the wreckage of his time. “Hate is not the opposite of love,” he wrote. “Apathy is.”

Dr. May would have treasured images of Liviu Librescu shielding his students at Virginia Tech and survivors comforting one another after the shock of madness.

We don’t see many signs of caring in today’s news, but they are there, if we look for them.

1 comment:

kfsickel said...

These are good thoughts, and we need them.

I well remember the times of Rollo May and Vietnam. But I did not know about May's personal campaign to search for evidence of caring amidst so much wreckage. It's a wonderful image to hold alongside of that of Professor Librescu and the other heroe-victims/survivors at Virginia Tech.

I'm so glad to have discovered this blog, and the evocation of A. J. Liebling. He is someone else that it is good to be reminded of in an age that has eagerly sacrificed the local newspaper to the "needs" of corporate greed.