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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Powerful End-Game of Nurturing

The other day I purchased a new flight cage for The Trinity--my three pet finches.  Soon after I purchased another smaller cage and adopted two parakeets.  I think we humans not only have a need to be nurtured, but also carry the need to validate ourselves through the nurturing of others--this behavior is so fundamentally human that it verges on the unnatural to behave otherwise.  I think we would be awestruck, for example, if we could measure the economic activity generated by people striving to nurture pets or people (or plants) dear to them. As for me, it was simply required that I let the parakeets know how much I wanted the best for them by buying forthwith two mirrors to embellish their cage.  And of course loving parents from day one feel a tremendous urge to establish in their children a "feeling that each really matters"--that someone "gives a damn" whether they thrive personally and socially.

Nurturing does not end with childhood nor is it limited to the family unit--however essential that institution is.  Effective institutions with diverse roles and missions know the importance of conveying to their members and to those with whom they interface that each and every one is important--that each individual truly matters.  

In order for the public square to be a beautiful place, security and care must be in evidence.  There is a sense in which it is the responsibility of everyone and every institution to make this happen.  But we have seen proven time and again that generalized responsibility without specific assignment of accountability results in a suffused and foul miasma of toxicity.  

Perhaps the fundamental reason I have never liked going to meetings is that meetings often function as a draft board conscripting my services and my resources whether I like it or not.  Just so is the role of government taxation.  It conscripts my private resources to help fund the public square.  Yet, in my view, this as it should be.  Few would think the police power of the state should be funded through charity drives and cookie sales--"give only if your heart moves you"--and it well may not move me if I feel that others will pull my weight and I can be a respectable undercover parasite. 

I worked for the City of Saint Petersburg in Parks and Recreation.  Many would judge that the budget of such a department should closely follow the economy and when money is tight as a purported expendable luxury it should be the first department to have its budget slashed.  In my experience this never happened because the department's various services became more vital as the economy declined--vital, especially, on a fundamental nurturing level that helped induce the conviction that even in tough times each and every one of us truly matters.
(Check out Parks and Recreation here

Security is surely a matter of potent police power, but assuredly in human affairs the health of the prevailing mental climate is of equal importance. It matters decisively that each person is empowered by an unaffected belief that they truly matter.  Realty always penetrates ideological cant if given enough time.  The democratic experiment will fail if its words valuing the individual--together with the very people themselves--are written off as superfluous to the real down-and-dirty business of greed.


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