In my academic life at Utrecht University I was one of the international forerunners of the ‘ethics of care’, an approach in ethics which sees care as a practice, based on moral reasoning in terms of attention, compassion, responsibility, competence and trust. Following the American scholar Joan Tronto I elaborated both the philosophical/epistemological groundwork and the practical/political applications of this approach. In the publications below you can find my main contributions to this fascinating topic, which remains highly relevant today. I limit myself to my publications that are available in internet bookshops. Just click on them and you will find them. Many more can be found in journals and anthologies.
Care and spirituality
It might seem that there is a fraction between my work on the care ethics and that of the Sirena, and in a sense that is true. Soul work and spirituality came my way only when I began to follow my curiosity of the Sirena: they were absent in my work on the care ethics. My introduction to various spiritual and religious traditions about care and to the work of Carl Jung profoundly changed my thinking on the subject. Love started to enter my work, together with the notion of ‘emptying the mind’ and the importance of the relation between care for the self, care for each other and care for the world. My notion of the Self was deepened. I started to see the spiritual path as a path towards individuation – a path of the soul seeking connection with the Divine, and was inspired in this regard by alchemy and hermetism. I realized that all of this requires extensive practices of self-care.
Yet my work on the ‘path of the Sirena’ continued to be inspired by several ideas of the care ethic. I elaborated the principle of active attention, inspired by the work of authors like Simone Weil and Etty Hillesum, and by the teachings of the Buddha on thoughtful listening and thoughtful speaking. I presented my ideas on this at several international conferences, and it was published in several journals. And I began to see active attention as part of the fourth stage of spiritual consciousness, something I elaborated in the last chapter of my book ‘La Sirena e il Volto Santo’.
It would require new articles to elaborate on these mutual fertilizations. Here I can only give references to my work and ask you to further think for your own. And if you want to follow these thoughts, I would invite you to search on the internet for the by now extensive work of scholars who have elaborated the connection between care, spirituality and religion.
A pdf of the article about ‘Care and Attention’ you can find here.