Monday 6 February 2023

What does it mean to Cope?

Many words are spent and much ink is spilt on discussing how to cope with this or that event or stress in life. 

But what does coping really mean? 

People use coping to mean something like 'maintaining functionality'; implicitly functionality in the world as-is - continuing to work, keep house, or perhaps basic self-care. 

Some people regard 'keeping cheerful' as the hallmark of coping. At the limit, coping may mean simply 'staying alive' and 'not killing oneself'. 

Indeed, coping seems often to mean little more than mere-survival. 

(Coping, as commonly used, does not even amount to biological viability - since it does not require the desire, willingness or even capacity to reproduce and care for offspring. Quite the reverse, in recent years - when human reproduction is treated as more like a pathology or sin.)  

But this-world is ultimately spiritual; and coping therefore ought to consist in more than animal survival - especially when that is conceptualized as analogous to the survival of a farm or zoo animal. 

And that spiritual reality is Christian. So, what does 'coping' mean for a Christian? 

Coping with the vicissitudes of life ought to mean maintaining the commitment to salvation, despite whatever

In sum; coping with a situation or event should refer to a person's capacity to retain faith in God and hope of resurrection to Heaven. 

In extremis - this may mean losing a great deal else of this-world: functionality, livelihood, health... even life. 

A martyr copes by accepting death. 

All of which is a long way from the mainstream ways that people talk about coping...

1 comment:

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

These days, it's becoming more and more common to use cope to mean "make excuses for yourself and refuse to admit you were wrong."