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feeling for each other
january 23, 2011 / July 14, 2013

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We have in common what we make, choose, and keep. The “what” is enactive in part (what we do), but also essentially enactive: the doing, one’s doing, our doing—especially as (“unto”) fidelity to enacted having, which is also enactive: making, choosing, and keeping fidelity.

What most deserves fidelity? Of all deservingness, some fidelity deserves to prevail over others. Thus some fidelities become “thinner” or weaker, and some fade away, due to constraints of time that give way to better fidelities—and what makes one fidelity better than another is The Question.

What we have in solidarity—the solidarity we have as the cohering of solidarities (specifics, themes, engagements)—is more important than our general sociality (our common humanity discernible on the commons, including functionalistic organizations). The scale of solidarity is surely less than the scale of sociality (all tolled), relative to the externalism of sociality.

But relative to the internalism of sociality, solidarity may have greater scale, beyond our shared being persons (which we may easily feel for each other at least as “strangers” interacting in good faith, belonging in the same place and time). Realize it or not, relative to intrinsic importances, solidarity has greater potential than public sociality. Solidarity can imply a shared depth or height of humanity (beyond a thin bredth of “common ground”).

We are the species that can distinguish intrinsic importances from extrinsic importances, and solidarity has more intrinsic importance than general sociality, in my view (except inasmuch as general sociality may advance intrinsic importances). Indeed, there can be great virtue in our sociality; but that’s due to intrinsic value we can find shared, at best deeply or highly so.

Better still, feeling kindredness with aspects of the world—ideas, aspirations, near-and-dear others, even our common humanity as being Of something validly great (legacy or potential for lastingness)—is more than solidarity with aspects of the world. Solidarity in shared humanity grows from each feeling kindredness, if not kinship, with one’s own humanity. One naturally prefers kindredness/kinship to solidarity because we each prefer what’s more lastingly important for one’s own life, which is basically a matter of our own good. Feeling biological kindredness is merely the first landscape of possible enkindreding (so to speak) of our sense of being a person belonging to her/his own humanity. Our own good is also the good of the ecology that sustains us (which is cultural and psychological, as well as biospheric and social). We belong to the ecogeny of the ecology which sustains us.

What about belonging to a vision of our humanity? What about belonging to a legacy of potential? What about belonging in heart to a Promise ever flourishing across generations? Our potential for belonging may be a radiant gravity giving high cohering to all specific enkindredings we make or choose, and keep. We have in common the enkindredings we embody and express. That’s abstract to say because its potential scale is beyond brief comprehension.

Best of all, though, is intimacy. Best of all are all the intimacies our lives may cultivate and find, instilled heartfully, holding dear to sense of Self, kept real by each other—and some intimacies deserve to prevail over others. There are many kinds of intimacies, yet a life has a topography of values and choices; and time delimited by many aspects of life.

What there is or is-to-be only remains honest or authentic as long as it’s open to growth, open to question, even though no need for question is felt. Real validity of self is always comfortable with questioning itself, if only as a sign of fidelity to another’s desire for understanding. Yet also, life is made of changes. The value of thinking, reappropriating, and adapting is a living one, which always rewards attentive time. Real validity of a life enjoys inquiry about itself. Real validity enjoys expanding itself through new ways of understanding. One feels for another no better than one feels for one’s own being, which is alive, thus always Promise growing (always in want of attentive cultivation).

Conversely to increased engagement, from social commonality to intimacy, there is rightly waning engagement sometimes: An intimacy may over time transpose into less than that, but be still cherished, like family members who stay “mere” friends as one’s own life moved on. Or a wonderful romance of youth that became lasting friendship through later years. Like intimacies, fidelity to one domain of kindredness in one’s life may deserve to prevail over another, with no devaluing of anything in appreciating salience amid so much to cherish. Likewise, earlier enkindreding may become mere solidarity among the many solidarities of a relationship worth caring for.

Our lives are lusciously interpersonal by degrees of engagement, and this is appropriate because it’s inevitable, especially as one grows to be very engaged with many kinds of loves. I will someday elaborate and deepen this perspective on degrees of engagement for an approach to ethical theory that’s kindred with recent work by Michael Slote, though not based on his approach to empathy (which lacks a well-developed continuum of feeling for each other, which I’ve detailed to him in private correspondence, far beyond what I’ve indicated here in revising, July 2013, this January 2011 improvisation, which really belongs to 2011).

 

 

 

 

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