An open space for global conversation
In the USA and places with related cultures, the dominant paradigm (conception or view) of the human being is a negative one. It was imposed and is sustained. As a result of its ongoing influence, both expectations and hopes of humans, in general, are low. While accepted etiquette prevents much direct and malicious disrespect, forms of What did you expect? and They'll change only at the last minute, or later! and You've got to make it easy, even idiot-proof! are constants in the media and in conversations. Workarounds, often structural, technological, expensive and/or profitable, far exceed, both in number and impacts, significant appeals to people themselves. And among everyday people, superficial and traditional differences provoke fears and recommend distancing instead of piquing natural curiosities and encouraging synergistic connections. Under the circumstances, technology looks more and more like the easier answer to every tough question facing humans. The situation is tragic and it's costly, to people and to the planet, from which technologies and the energies to power them are made.
The dominant paradigm of human beings is that they are useful, interchangeable things, that only a very small percentage deserve to be more than somewhat secure. It greatly devalues people's multidimensionality and trivializes individual uniqueness in order to reinforce competition that exploits physical and/or intellectual assets. Those well-endowed and willing receive authorization to direct, coordinate and manipulate the more ordinary and submissive ones, for greater rewards. All get some time off from work to allocate and enjoy their compensation the best they can. The attendant alienation and demoralization combine with fatigue to make void-filling consumption the most common pastime. The cycles of earning and spending, acquiring and discarding, aka getting by, is what life has become for many, many people. The situation is tragic and it's costly, to people and their communities, which sorely miss their participation. Getting by is a choice people make again and again, as if history confirms it's appropriate for them. If anything, history confirms it is a construct in which some are heavily vested and many are confined and constricted.
It was not always so, and a timeless, available and attractive alternative is the whole person paradigm. Named by Stephen Covey in The 8th Habit (2004), it is in fact quite old. The whole person paradigm is positive and essential to the emergence and sustenance of our envisioned resilient communities. It supports a very different way of relating to and working with each other, not merely cooperative, but also complementary. It enables us to access and develop boundless resources because the paradigm recognizes, values and celebrates humans' multidimensionality, expressed as body, mind, heart and spirit, and also the uniqueness of each one's integration/manifestation of those four dimensions.
Under present circumstances, these truths are generally buried, waiting as potentials. We've been doing without them for some time. Recent history, for all its material progress and development, is a story of doing without. The next chapter, the one transition folks want to write, is the story of uncovering and unleashing the potentials to self-organize in complementarity.
As we strive to make history, let's make a habit of choosing the view of human beings that is true and which therefore secures and celebrates each and every one. It calls for so much less technology and energy. It fosters so much more than getting by.