How can we gather hope for a more humane world? By understanding the humane dimension of our babies’ tears, answers Haïm Cohen. His practice and observation of infants have led him to elaborate a theory based on the meaning of these tears. When they do not convey a physiological need (hunger, cold or heat, discomfort), they are, according to the paediatrician, a fundamental call aimed at the adult. An existential call claiming consolation and empathy. That is why babies’ tears are universal. They demand of the mother, the parent, the adult to learn to be altruistic.
This utopia is founded on the idea that by giving the baby a constant affective nourishing, we stimulate the development of its moral consciousness and we contribute to the improvement of its future relations with others. As an adult, this consoled and reassured child will be capable, in his/her turn, to make a gesture towards the other rather than resorting to cruelty.
This theory is based on new discoveries in neurobiology. The baby registers lavishing gestures of love and tenderness at a moment when its brain is in full development. These gestures stimulate its ethical sense as well as its consciousness of the presence of others.
A handbook of humanism as much as a reflection on how our society deals with children, this book is aimed at all parents who are worried about the decent psycho-affective development of their child, but also at all those interested in the progress of neuroscience.
Haïm Cohen is one of the most acclaimed paediatricians of Paris. He practises in the XVth district.