Care The Basic Strength of Adulthood

Erikson (1982) defined care as "a widening commitment to take care o/the persons, the products, and the ideas one has learned to care for" (p. 67). As the basic strength of adulthood, care arises from each earlier basic ego strength. One must have hope, will, purpose, competence, fidelity, and love hi order to take care of that which one cares for. Care is not a duty or obligation but a natural desire emerging from the conflict between generativity and stagnation or self-absorption.

The antipathy of care is rejectivity, the core pathology of adulthood. Rejectiv-ity is the unwillingness to take care of certain persons or groups (Erikson, 1982). Rejectivity is manifested as self-centeredness, provincialism, orpseudospeciation: that is, the belief that other groups of people are hiferior to ones own. It is responsible for much of human hatred, destruction, atrocities, and wars. As Erikson said, rejectivity "has far-reaching implications for the survival of the species as well as for every individual's psychosocial development" (p. 70).

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