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Personal Care in an Impersonal World A Multidimensional Look at Bereavement

ISBN 0895031094 / 9780895031099 / 0-89503-109-4

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Book summary

The purpose of this volume is to ask and propose a positive answer to the question "Can we attend to the personhood of individuals within systems and cultures which are mass oriented?" One of the most interesting changes in contemporary thinking has been the emphasis on the unique person. While the distinction between a person (a unique rational being) and individual (one of several similar things) has long existed, it is in the twentieth century that we seem to have become fully conscious of this distinction. There is good reason for such as emphasis today. Repeatedly in this century the case of the person was deemed less important than some policy. Innocent persons slaughtered in the name of some "ism," political bombings and kidnappings, and mass unemployment to name but a few. The cause of our dehumanization seems to be the reduction of the individual person to a part of the political, economic or religious system.

The death awareness/hospice movement has played an important role in counteracting this anti-person orientation. The hospice death awareness movement was begun as an antidote for this "mass thinking" and holds the philosophy that individual persons are primary and that political, social and economic systems are there to serve people, not the other way around. It is within the tradition of that movement that the following chapters are written. [via]