Compassionate Communities

The term “compassion,” in the past, or even nowadays, capitalized/kidnapped in many places of the world by monotheistic religions, has turned into a significant value vehiculating an attentive rationality towards the secular human, palliative care —mostly the one given at the end of life— and attention to the individual. The secularized articulation of the term is being rebuilt by oriental philosophies and spiritualities that have acquired an important relevance in modern societies with technical and social differences. There is no doubt that the eminently scientific foundation of the oriental spirituality helps to legitimate its practice and diffusion in those spaces articulating the social. While, apart from understanding and perceiving the suffering of others and the desire of alleviating it, it is actually the rational drive that interests us enough to enable the sliding of mere observation towards places where compassionate strategies related to new links and mostly with the end of life, emerge.

Thus, we pose compassionate communities in the XXIst century as healthy communities where there are spaces enabling the development of collaborative capacities and abilities to spot vulnerability and vital precariousness wherever it resides and generate a cosier relationship style. That is to say, warmer communities, towns or cities where it is easier to live. Firstly, we will track and observe how the term compassion is being articulated, and study its relevance in reflecting upon links. Then, we will present different experiences of actual compassionate communities to formulate questions about their collaborative nature. Finally, we will reflect upon wellness and quality of life from an ethic plurality, change and collaboration point of view. In order to understand this reality, in this moment we count on: a) 4 in-depth interviews to people with different charges, ages and level of compromise within this social space; b) A non-participant observation of the inauguration act of the care community “Getxo Zurekin”; and c) a virtual revision of the most outstanding platforms, agents and collectives in Spain around end-of-life palliative care, deepening in one of the central nodes, the “New Health Foundation.”

Researchers: Ana Aliende Urtasun & Joseba García Martín.