“A democratic society becomes very fragile
when [Truth] the central common good is assailed…
directly and repeatedly”
~ Robert Reich
What are the most fundamental components of any democracy? Robert Reich, speaking on the theme of his book The Common Good, suggests that “truth” (which he defines as a “common good”) represents one of the most significant foundations of any democratic endeavor. Regardless of sociopolitical persuasion, preservation of high standards for truth should be paramount in our thinking. Democratic governance depends on such a perspective. However, according to Mr. Reich and many others, the manner in which certain government officials portray the concept of truth represents a clear and present danger to the very foundations of democratic institutions.
In this 40 minute video, Mr. Reich presents his case around three general categories: (1) how did “this” happen (2) the central problem we face and (3) what are we going to do?
A Life Worth Living?
Amid the swirl of thoughts that reverberate throughout life experience, once in a while an interesting idea settles onto Quora, a question and answer website (registration required). As often as not, users post answers which are more interesting than the questions themselves. A few weeks ago, just such a response appeared in reply to the question ‘What makes life worth living?’
Many of us ponder this or similar questions, most often with little expectation of receiving a reasonable answer. In this instance, a responder we will simply call “Jimmy”, a self-defined entrepreneur and ”a Wall Street investor” stated the following:
“Nothing makes life worth living. The fact that this is even a question underlines the lack of life itself to provide a natural answer.”
The phrase “the lack of life” presents a curiously pointed accusation—an accusation directed at reality itself. Jimmy seems to think life owes us something, that life is somehow deficient, leaving us to pick up the pieces so to speak. He continues “Most of life is a sentence [did he mean “sequence”?] of failures and pains, punctuated with only the briefest of moments of happiness.” What’s wrong with this picture? (more…)
If you could do anything right now, anything at all, what would you do? Why? Here is a slightly different question. If you had no constraints, if you could cause one thing to happen in the world, what event or change would you choose? Now, consider that of all the things you could have chosen, you chose this (whatever that is). What does that say about you? About your orientation and desires? Do you express such interests in your day to day decisions?
When you begin to consider what you might do if you could do anything, what is your first and second thought? Hard to pin down? For many of us one of those thoughts will be negative—some reason we believe stands in the way of doing something we say we want. We bump our heads on that learned limitation some have called achievable belief threshold or ABT—which effectively stops us in our tracks. While our wishes reflect what is important to us, so do our beliefs in limits to our freedom to fully express ourselves. But are these limits real, imposed contrivances or excuses? (more…)
If you would hit the mark, you must aim a little above it;
Every arrow that flies feels the attraction of earth.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
What is meaning? How does any definition we choose relate to EveryDayLife?
While researching our burgeoning topic “Who We Are” and the general concept of meanings in our lives, we came across this post from November of 2012. It speaks personally to the question of meaning in a way no theory can. As you read the heart felt words of a “helper”, consider the question we asked last week: Is the world better today because you are in it? (more…)
Here we are. Now what? After an expectedly tumultuous 2017, when various civil liberties and protections have been spirited away, stolen in the night, brazenly ripped from our freedom clutching fingers, who are we and where do we go from here? This post simultaneously represents the end of the “Death of Democracy” series and the turn from explicit descriptions of socio-political situations toward explorations of intra-personal, psycho-social elements that form our experience of EveryDayLife. (more…)
Death of Democracy
Part IV: What is Democracy
What is this thing we call “democracy”. Just as once there was some general consensus about the nature of truth—facts in the public sphere—we once believed we shared a relatively common meaning of the word “democracy”. One of the reasons we (both in the U.S. and internationally) do not agree on how our governments should operate is that while we might call our form of government “democratic”, that is, reflecting the basic principles of democracy, we do not necessarily agree on the set of principles that constitute such an idea. When we use the phrase “death of democracy”, we might not be talking about the demise of actual “democracy” at all. In fact, we might be talking about something considerably more pervasive, profound and, if lost, catastrophic for American society.
Part 3: Morality That Divides Us
“I loathe nationalism. It is a form of tribalism–the idolatry of the century”
When many of us hear the word “morals”, we often withdraw, flinch, find someone else to talk to or another place to be. In fact, morals, in the simplest terms, only refers to what we consider “good” (or “bad”). All of us hold them (moral positions, that is). We might not talk about them much (in a metacognitive, that is, self-conscious manner) but we express them constantly.