Re: [xmca] Forgiveness

From: Andy Blunden (
Date: Mon Oct 23 2006 - 03:10:01 PDT

A recent conference near Melbourne held by the Australia Society for
Continental Philsoophy (mostly critical theorists) on "Trauma" dealt with
forgiveness in a myriad of ways. Two of the speakers made points which I
recall as I write:

Agnes Heller spoke about shame, and the impossibility of a social movement
built on shame. This relates of course to the inverse side, that of the one
who needs forgiveness.

Philipa Rothfield spoke on the oppressive effect of pressure on victims to
forgive. She cited experiences in South Africa where the reconciliation
process put great pressure on people to forgive. She made the point that
not only were many not ready to forgive, but perhaps rightly so, since
forgiveness and reconciliation could act as a cover for avoiding dealing
with the real underlying problems, and in fact their continuation in new

There were of course scores of presentations taking a number of different
angles. These two I particularly remember.

At 09:06 PM 22/10/2006 -0700, you wrote:
>OK-- So here is another topic. Any help out there greatly appreciated.
>In my household the topic of forgiveness is a burning issue. There are a lot
>of sources.
>First, we have had a visit from a friend who has had a stroke and whose
>husband has left her
>and she is in deep pain.
>Second, we have been reading about the Amish parents in Pennsylvania who put
>aside, so far as
>we can tell, the unbelievable anger and pain they must have experienced, and
>have forgiven the man
>who killed their children, welcomed his wife into their community, and
>(again, so far as we can tell,
>for-given him his unforgivable (it would seem) trespasses.
>Third, there is fiction brewing locallly that involves a mother and daughter
>who are in conflict where the
>mother has transgressed the law seriously and the daughter is living with
>the consequences.
>So what does anyone on this amazing list of people have to counsel us about
>forgiveness, No eye for
>a tooth. What makes it possible? Legitimate? Forgivable, to forgive someone
>for causing unspeakable
>This is all at the more or less personal/interpersonal level. I am well
>aware that there are macro versions of these
>questions that deserve all the attention we can give them, but up close and
>personal. --When is forgiveness possible
>and forgivable?
>Help please
>xmca mailing list

  Andy Blunden : tel (H) +61 3 9380 9435, AIM
identity: AndyMarxists mobile 0409 358 651

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