Badinter’s Conflict

Do read Anne Manne’s mindful review of Elizabeth Badinter’s The Conflict in the March Monthly.
Badinter’s book is so obviously a projection of her own internal conflict (Career versus Motherhood…….CAREER v CARER if you like) onto the larger world. What is worth noting is that instead of holding the tensions, she insist on a resolution in favour of Career, as if one could not somehow value BOTH.
As I keep reiterating; the quality of nurturance we get in the first 3 years of life largely determines the quality of our social/relational abilities. This in turn shapes the world we live in. Neuroscience research confirms earlier clinical insights into the importance of nurturance and attachment dynamics. There is a torrent of literature. How could a clever author like Badinter be unaware of it, or so dismissive?
Get early nurturance wrong and the survivors end up in prisons, drug rehab and psychiatric systems. Subtler failures may be even more destructive; like the narcissism, avoidant attachment styles and psychopathy that drive our despots and organisational sharks in suits.
Get it right, and you get autonomous and caring people, good at reading themselves (mindfulness) and reading others (empathy)……..Now figure the broader consequences for society and the planet.
Repair is energy-intensive. Prevention has 2 obstacles.
The first is a withering antipathy to nurturance. Badinter’s prejudice exemplify this, as do many of our political and social systems.
Mindlessness is the second. Developing a capacity for effective nurturance is challenging. The last thing the nurturers of this world need is criticism masquerading as the kind of sentimental concern that Badinter is enmeshed in (and most of us, if the media are any guide) . We need to develop our own mindful empathy to better nurture the nurturers . Six months’ National Service in a pre-school child care centre might help. So would deeper discussion in our media.

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