Positive Space

Love means creating for another the kind of space in which he can flourish, at the same time as he does this for you.

It is to find one's happiness in being the reason for the happiness of another. It is not that you both find your fulfilment in the same goal, like hitting the open road clasped together on a motorcycle, but [...] that you each find your fulfilment in the other's.

The liberal model of society wants individuals to flourish in their own space, without mutual interference.

The political space in question is thus a neutral one: it is really there to wedge people apart, so that one person's self-realization should not thwart another's. Nobody here - to put the point in a different theoretical idiom - seems to receive themselves back as a subject from the Other, as opposed to attending with due sensitivity to what the other has to say.

This is an admirable ideal, nurtured by what is in many ways a deeply honourable political tradition. The 'negative' freedoms it cherishes have a vital place in any just society.

But the space involved in love is rather more positive. 

It is created by the act of relationship itself, rather than being given from the outset like a spare seat in a waiting room.

To be granted this kind of freedom is to be able to be at one's best without undue fear. It is thus the vital precondition of human flourishing. You are free to realize your nature, but not in the falsely naturalistic sense of simply expressing an impulse because it happens to be yours. That would not rule out torture and murder.

Rather, you realize your nature in a way which allows the other to do so too. 

 And that means that you realize your nature at its best - since if the other's self-sulfilment is the medium through which you flourish yourself, you are not at liberty to be violent, dominative or self-seeking.

[Terry Eagleton]
After Theory, p.169-70

The cultural selection and communication of appropriate emotional states plays a vital role in the socialization of children into adults.

Essentially, such maturation depends upon the ability to recognize one's relatedness to others, and to subdue one's will in order to sustain relatedness. In Pintupi theory, this development is perceived as an increasing ability to "understand." […] implying that one learns what responses are held to be appropriate for various situations.

Young children are said to be "unaware," "oblivious," or "deaf" (patjarru or ramarama) and therefore not responsible for their actions. Children do not know; they understand neither events nor when to be ashamed […] What children learn, then, are […] the "basic orientations for the self provided by a culture" - a folk theory of motivation (how to understand others) and morality (how to place oneself in relation to these expectations).

An adult Pintupi should be aware of what is happening and who is present. There is constant evaluation of the state of the social and physical world.

Pintupi apply the term ramarama ("deaf," "oblivious'') to those whom they consider insane and to drunks. Such an individual does not hear or take note of relatives, possibly injuring close kin or failing to recognize them. In other words, such a person is not in touch with the reality upon which everyone else agrees. One who is unable to "think" in this way is, like a child, not held accountable for his or her actions.

Understanding thus constitutes the precondition for social maturity. The development of that maturity, however, results from an increasing elaboration of ties of shared identity with others.

[Fred R. Myers]
Pintupi Country, Pintupi Self, p.107-8