C-109. Care: Affect and effect

To be careful about care, we need to realize it fully, from needed functionality through developed and expressed capability to accomplished ends (App. XIX), to see its relevance (C-103) to our own and others’ problems (I) and behavioral architecture (C-90) … to see to its helpfulness (App. I).

Effect and affect can get us started. Like “care” itself, each of these is, or should be, an R-word – i.e., pertaining to realization re needed functionality (App. XIX, App. XX; C-94). (“Affection” has to carry a load here, because “affect” as a verb has come, so it seems, to be used to substitute for “effect” as a verb so that the latter can be reserved for use as a noun. But for the sake of realization, we want to see “affect” as more than that, to see it as a noun too: as needed functionality (e.g., “togetherness,” community) and then as composed performance. To be sure, we can and do work around this sort of linguistic tangle – as, for example, in using “love” broadly to afford some grasp of what we are talking about.)

To care is to realize all that it takes to bring about – i.e., to effect – any needed and/or wanted consequence. To care is also to realize one’s own condition – i.e., needed affect — and the fact that this condition is shared by others.

The Nature of Things’ (III) general persisting condition of partial order is good news. It’s good because it leaves to us some of consequentiality to be brought about. But its discontinuity condition, separateness among behavioral entities, is bad news. It’s bad because it leaves us alone and sometimes lonely – and, of course, subject to hard collisions. In either case we have to care. In the first instance for how we go about being effective, in the second for relating to other effectors.

The diagram for VI (Control imperative) outlines the gappiness conditions which characterize the Care task. “Simple” 3-gap conditions can be challenging. For example:
control-imperative, professor-richard-carter
Where P1 confronts three gaps in each of three common situations, the first where the other entities are not, say, other humans, the second where one is another human but the other is not, and the third where both the other entities are human.

These situations call for different Care considerations, not just with respect to each gap in the situation, and not just for each with respect to what kind of entities are gapped, but also with respect to the extent of gappiness. Three gaps are already hard to handle – as we see in cases of envy, perceived rejection, jealousy and the ever-dangerous, “I disagree” (re “it”? re “you”?)*. (As the VI diagram shows, gappiness goes up in a hurry as entities are added to the situation.) Care requires anticipation, predicated not just on prior particular experiences (e.g., own and others’ helping efforts) but also on what else one knows about gappiness coming into any situational problem. That other knowledge derives as principles from the Nature of Things.

Further, gappiness situations do not exhaust the demand on care, for P1’s behavioral problem (I: Pbeh) also requires care. And, to be sure, empathy for P2’s and/or P3’s behavioral and situational problems.

Caring is thus the archetypical “multi-tasking.” We see the challenge in the much-discussed matters of doctor and nurse behavior, in the paternalism and condescension of development workers among the “less developed,” in the words and deeds of political candidates … indeed, in nearly all of human engagements – and especially where problems of Help arise.

* “Disagree” may never be appropriate, even if the disagreement is intended solely about “it.” If disagreement is with “it,” then a question may be the caring response, directing focal attention away from disagreement with “you,” and hopefully advancing matters (re “it,” “you” — and “we”). “Disagree” throws the gapped relationship into the oppositional “-1…+1” mode (C-108) and may abort Realization’s (C-107, C-111) advancement of matters. Affective indifference, with an occasional contemplative nod, has its own risks.

(c) R.F. Carter