Home Concepts Adult Development Deep Caring XXXIV: Bridging Spirit and Soul

Deep Caring XXXIV: Bridging Spirit and Soul

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Perhaps of greatest importance regarding generativity is Gilligan’s portrait of mature adult development as an embrace of care as a fundamental virtue in life. It is necessary, according to Gilligan (1982, p.98), to recognize “the importance throughout life of the connection between the universality of the need for compassion and care. The concept of the separate self and of moral principles uncompromised by the constraints of reality is an adolescent ideal . . .”

As we have done throughout this series of essays on deep caring, Gilligan expands the notion of care in both space and time. As a result:

. . . the notion of care expands from the paralyzing injunction not to hurt others to an injunction to act responsively toward self and others and thus to sustain connection. A consciousness of the dynamics of human relationship then becomes central to moral understanding, joining the heart and the eye in an ethic that ties the activity of thought to the activity of care. (Gilligan, 1982, p. 149)

Thus, the ethic or (more broadly conceived) virtue of deep caring becomes a thoughtful, sustained initiative engaged through all four of the generative roles we have identified in this series of essays. It extends time and space, offering a bridge of creation and caring tying together multiple generations within the context of a generative society: “The virtue of care ties together different generations, promotes exchange between generations, and passes on values from generation to generation. Thus, generativity includes both creating and caring.” (Imada, 2004, p. 91)

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