autonomy & hope …

… we swim in a culture of autonomy … independence … But is this what we are in our deepest selves?

Lynch discusses … from his book Images of Hope: Imagination as Healer of the Hopeless.

It is the secret fear of most people that they cannot have both dependence and independence, just as it is their secret hope that they can. Fortunately they not only can but must. But such a homely truth is not much preached in our land. We are forbidden to have precisely what nature demands most. We are often forced by our culture to deny dependence, passivity, the wish and ability to receive.

We do not seem able to rest. We have the greatest difficulty in being passive, in doing nothing. We are afraid of the gentler emotions. We misinterpret the wishes we have in these directions, and the wishes to receive and to be loved, as though these thoughts and wishes were wrong and had to be suppressed like the plague. As though, according to our culture and according to all the textbooks in psychology, there came a point when we are supposed to be grown up and not have such thought; as though at some magic moment when we reach the initiated age of twenty-one, we are no longer beings who have been created and have received all; as though we must no longer use help of any kind (which I have described as half of the definition of hope) …

But I repeat that the prerequisite for weaving such opposites into a single act and feeling is the increasingly close relationship with man or God that also creates psychic space. Our picture of God is particularly false when we think of Him as annihilating us if we rest in Him and when we do not believe that independent action according to our own lights might be exactly what He wants. We are really frightened by this fact and by any form of passivity. Therefore activity itself, and finally overactivity, are sought only to deny or to destroy a natural fact and need that cannot possibly be destroyed. There are many men and women in hospitals for the mentally ill today who, whether they know it or not, are simply telling civilization, and also themselves, that they will go no further, and that, whether the world likes it or not, they intend to take a moratorium. But surely it would be better for our culture to provide more realistic and acceptable forms of moratorium. (pp. 235-237)

5 thoughts on “autonomy & hope …”

  1. The terms dependence and independence carry so much baggage that there may be some value in recasting the terms. Independence does not carry the full connotation of free will, which itself incorporates the concepts of sui juris and incommunicabilis. Dependence does not carry the connotation of integrity or the necessity of the part responding to the truth concerning the whole. Integrity sometimes demands following; sometimes demands leading; sometimes demands resistance.

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