“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?
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…)
Introduction to Part II
We began this journey with the Sophia Burns article on the movie, The Last Jedi. Uncharacteristic for the Star Wars series, the general message was curiously populist—that people cannot rely on leaders or grand heroic figures to “fix things”. We must rely on ourselves. In this second segment of Inside-Outside, we consider the driving forces within us and our collective experience as these forces impact our ability to choose. Toward the end of the article, a simple exercise is presented—an exercise which, if employed diligently, could revolutionize our daily lives. (more…)
…a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…
~ Lao Tzu
Part I: Introduction
Sometimes we need to go back to basics. The proverb above is ancient (that is, “old”). The aphorism’s “classic” truth about a journey’s beginnings is not diminished by the age of the phrase. The idea is timeless. Yet to an alarming extent, our modern society eschews things “old” as unimportant, lacking worth. We do so as a component of our own demise. Perhaps we should begin to re-examine some of those “old” ideas that have provided strength and resilience in EveryDayLife.
The point is not what we expect from life,
but rather what life expects from us.
We constantly look to heroines or heroes to “save“ us. We wait for messiahs, we follow gurus and place considerable faith in politicians and other individuals, elevating them to the status of societal leaders, policy makers and ultimately gatekeepers of societal norms. Many of us dutifully cast our votes at election time, assuming our ballot can effectively shift the scales in our favor regarding civil liberties, personal protection as well as economic and physical well-being. Essentially, when it comes to getting things done, to make life better, we tend to look elsewhere instead of looking to ourselves.
History belongs to the people. So says Sophia Burns in her article “Star Wars: ‘The Last Jedi’ is Revolutionary Agitprop”. Such a belief portrays us as the captains of our fate, the rulers of our days. However the attitudes and behaviors expressed by most people seldom justify such heroic notions. (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.