Acts of Compassion: Caring for Others and Helping Ourselves by Robert Wuthnow

By Robert Wuthnow

Robert Wuthnow reveals that those people who are such a lot inquisitive about acts of compassion aren't any much less individualistic than an individual else--and that people who find themselves the main intensely individualistic are not any much less desirous about taking care of others. Robert Wuthnow unearths that people who are so much interested in acts of compassion aren't any much less individualistic than somebody else--and that those people who are the main intensely individualistic aren't any much less interested by taking good care of others.

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The people she knows there sustain her, love her, teach her, fill her. The community, she admits, creates a very protective environment that she needs and likes. The time she spends leading meetings and sponsoring other women is merely a way to pay back the community for saving her life. She does not think of herself as the Lone Ranger, the way Jack Casey does; the Lone Ranger, in her view, is perverse. But Marge Detweiler does think of herself as an individualist. She says she has actually worked very hard to become an individualist.

Although one part of her wants to let anyone be selfish as long as he or she still does some good for others, another part of her lashes out against certain kinds of selfish behavior. After suggesting that it is acceptable to help others in order to “feel good about yourself,” she cites one of her neighbors as 37 CHAPTER 2 an example of the wrong kind of selfishness in caring. “One of my neighbors is a very cheerleader type of person. The first time my husband met her he said something to the effect that she must have been an ex-cheerleader.

She gives of her time because she has no need to work, because she would be lonely otherwise, because it gives her a change of pace, and because it makes her feel good. She also places strict limits on the caring she does. When asked if she ever helped any of the women she meets at US outside the center, or ever tried to befriend them, she shies away from the question, suggesting it would be awkward to do that. Although Janet is a devoted mother and wife, it is also hard to find evidence in the rest of her life of a deep sense of caring toward anyone outside her immediate family.

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