…a word I’ve coined just for this blog. An interesting concept. Assuming I’ve got the root right, I declare that it means “a fear of caring.” I’m open to suggestions of different words that have my intended meaning.
How might such a fear manifest itself, in mild or in extreme forms? Fear of commitment? Thoughtlessness? Fear of action? Deadlocks for even the simplest of meaningful choices? Lack of empathy?
In my opinion, it is most decidedly not the same as apathy, or a lack of empathy either. It would manifest, I think, as someone having an actual aversion to any situation, choice, or action in which the outcome might actually matter to the individual. It might appear as if the person is afraid of making a mistake. I would say that there is a slight difference, hard to put into words.
If one was afraid of caring, then making or reinforcing values would be nigh impossible – the construction of a value, however vile or beneficent, seems inherently to require care. Looking back at my “Chosen Values” entry, this means that making choices, especially when requiring the instantiation of a new value, would be exceptionally hard. This is where there is similarity with being afraid to make mistakes.
This fear might be said to manifest in many everyday situations – giving change to a beggar implies caring about the beggar, so no change is given – similarly, not taking the time to write a friend or not getting “just the right gift” for someone at Xmas. Much of the vitality of life would not be experienced. A person’s uniqueness of perspective would be under realized, under shared, understated.
I think the important questions about pendophobia are 1) how to know if it applies and 2) what to do about it if it does. Yes, I am asking these questions of my own self and no, I don’t know the answers.