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III.A Life of Deep Caring

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Conversely, in his formulation of generativity and caring, Erik Erikson (and later Kotre) offers a more instinctive and less “rational” assessment of the caring motivation. However, like Plato, Erikson and Kotre offer a wide-ranging set of activities they consider to be generative and that fit into their three or four-fold typology. Everyone seems to agree that generativity is manifest in many ways (Wakefield, 1998, p 171).

Desire to nurture the young, to be remembered, to be productive, to compose a symphony, to discover scientific truths, to develop oneself for one’s society, and to achieve just laws and institutions are not derived from the same motivational mechanisms. Generativity is to this extent a bundle of mechanisms with varying specific functions.

How is the stage set for these caring acts and for the engagement of generativity? How does one prepare for a generative role, or what qualifies one to engage in generative acts? And most importantly, what do generative actions look like in the real world? We will have much to say in response to these questions as we flesh out the four generativity roles and move into the lives of our four Featured Players—and even more broadly the participants in our two projects.

 

 

 

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