The Life-giving Gift of Acknowledgment: A Philosophical and Rhetorical Inquiry

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Purdue University Press, 2006 - Psychology - 336 pages
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What would life be like if no one acknowledged your existence? The question confronts one with the possibility of being isolated, marginalized, ignored, and forgotten by others. The unacknowledged find themselves in an out-of-the-way place where it is hard or human beings, given their social instinct, to feel at home. The suffering that can accompany this way of being-in-the-world is known to bring about fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, and sometimes even death in the form of suicide or retaliation against those who are rightly or wrongly accused of making one's life so lonely, miserable, and unbearable. Acknowledgment provides an opening out of such a distressful situation, for the act of acknowledging is a communicative and rhetorical behavior that grants attention to others and thereby makes room for them in our lives. With this added living space comes the opportunity for a new beginning, a second chance whereby one might improve his or her lot in life. There is hope to be found with this transformation space and time as people of conscience opt to go out of their way to make us feel wanted and needed, to praise our presence and actions, and thus to acknowledge the worthiness of our existence. Offering positive acknowledgement is a moral thing to do.

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About the author (2006)

Michael J. Hyde is the University Distinguished Professor of Communication Ethics, Department of Communication, Wake Forest University. He has taught at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, and at Northwestern University and has served as a consultant to private industry, universities and colleges, management organizations, national publishing houses, the Humane Society of The United States, and the American Medical Association.

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