By Tim R. Johnston
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Additional resources for Affirmation, Care Ethics, and LGBT Identity
If we see someone struggling in a new environment, with a new identity, or in a new relationship, the answer is not to encourage that person to tough it out or “buck up”—but instead to attend to that person and aid them in their effort to feel affirmed in their new circumstances. Our identities change and move through time by building new affirmative loops that carry us into the future. Affirming another person is not simply a nice gesture; it is participating in a process that is foundational to their sense of self.
It’s in endorsing, testing, refining, discarding, and adding stories, and then acting on the basis of that ongoing narrative work, that families do their part to maintain the child’s identity. (85, emphasis in original) Holding creates and affirms the child’s nascent identity, establishes their position in a social context, and affords their identity the narrative context within which it can move coherently into the future. In one’s old age, the work of holding often becomes backward-looking, reminding someone of who they were.
Indeed, it appears to me as an image, more specifically as the image around which all others are organized. 5 This is how Bergson moves beyond both Realism and Idealism. If the brain is an image among other images, “then it cannot be reified into the condition upon which the whole image of the world depends” (AnsellPearson and Mullarky 2002, 14). If the workings of my mind, my perceptions or representations, are not caused by the material world (Realism), or projected out from my brain (Idealism), what is the relationship between the image that is my brain and the other images surrounding it?